Nathan John Shanahan (SPC 1988-93)

October 6, 2022

Nathan Shanahan.

Old Collegian Nathan John Shanahan (SPC 1988-93) sadly took his own life on 22 December 2016.

Nathan was a returned soldier and firefighter and was an advocate for mental health and PTSD.

Nathan initially started “Walking Off The War Within”, creating the image of a soldier with a shadow on his back and instigating a walk, which now occurs in cities and towns around Australia as a tribute to Nathan’s legacy and continues to raise the awareness of mental health.

These walks replicate the walk Nathan completed in April 2015, a mammoth walk from Mildura to Adelaide, when Nathan walked over 400km carrying a 20kg-plus pack to raise awareness and funds for PTSD and depression. What was Nathan’s own personal “Walking Off The War Within” movement at the time has now become an amazing and ongoing tribute to Nathan’s memory and his work at that time.

Walking Off The War Within has transformed into a series of events, where people of all ages and fitness levels get together and walk and talk about ending the stigma that is often associated with mental health. Organisers, including Nathan’s family and father John (SPC 1967-69) and some of Nathan’s great mates, hope that the walk will continue to grow every year so more people are encouraged to have a conversation about mental health, depression and suicide.

Walking Off the War Within was hampered by the crippling COVID pandemic and organisers were forced to cancel many planned walks in 2020 and 2021. It is wonderful to see WOTWW walks have restarted and have been held most recently in Warrnambool and Mildura.

It is hoped that walks in Ballarat (which have previously and proudly took place on St Patrick’s College grounds) and Darwin, among others, will recommence in 2023.

To find out more about Walking Off the War Within and Nathan’s story, we encourage you to click on this link –

Nathan Shanahan, pictured in his Year 12 class photograph, published in the 1993 College Annual.