National Announcement of the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards - Salty Dingo 2022 CK  597

Our Founder Shanna was recently announced as the winner of the Australian of the Year awards as the 'Local Hero' - and is spending 2022 working hard to maximise that amazing honour. Please head to our MEDIA tab if you would like to watch or listen to Shanna's multiple contributions to TV, radio, podcasts and more.



















MAULES CREEK's Shanna Whan is a rural woman who overcame a life-long battle with alcohol addiction and had her last drink in February 2015. That same day, she and her husband Tim quietly resolved to use this second chance at life to help others.


After 5 years of voluntary work and an episode of Australian Story called ''Last Drinks,'' her work became evolved into a national not-for-profit that's now known as Sober in the Country (aka SITC) - and is a realisation of couple's dream.


Today, 7.5 years on, SITC is creating radical change in our outback booze worshipping culture through their inclusive #OK2SAYNO campaign and messaging - and Shan herself was recently announced winner of the prestigious ''Australian of the Year'' award (as Local Hero) in 2022 in recognition of her community service.

SITC now reaches up to 200,000 Australians through social media and advocacy and thanks to straight-talk designed for rural Australians. Lives are being changed across the nation. 

Shanna is a regular now on national television and radio. Australian Story's ''Last Drinks'' in 2019 alone pulled in millions of viewers; but Shan stands very firm on her stance that she is ''no poster girl'' for sobriety (or anything else) and states plainly that she merely represents a vast majority who are scared into silence because of ancient, outdated, stigmas and shame.


But what she clearly is, is a fierce advocate for the bush who gives her heart and soul to speak truth and to shine a spotlight on a difficult issue that few dare to go near. She does it with humour, grace, balance, and integrity - from a lived experience perspective.


A timeline of events and how SITC came about:

  • 2015 - Shanna fell down a flight of stairs and decided enough was enough

  • she reached out for help one last time and connected with a recovered alcoholic

  • that connection was a life line

  • it was then that Shanna realised one day she would dedicate her life to helping others

  • her first move was to give up her work and travel & spent a year in self-imposed isolation

  • her entire focus was on studying sobriety and avoiding alcohol while she healed

  • she spent 2016-2017 trying to support others locally

  • this included running a local recovery meeting

  • nobody came, and it didn't work - eventually she closed the meeting down

  • she then studied and graduated as a health coach

  • Shan quickly realised one-on-one intensity was too much for her mental health

  • after trying and failing to do what everyone said was best, she listened to her gut

  • in 2017 she began publicly writing about her recovery - acknowledging it was early days

  • by 2018 the stories had gone national across the bush

  • in 2019 ABC aired Shanna's story in an episode called ''Last Drinks''

  • in the same year, Sober in the Country Ltd was granted national charitable status

  • in 2020 Shanna was booked up for months to travel and speak

  • the pandemic hit, and she was back to ground zero and back to no income

  • she'd now had no income for five years

  • two philanthropists had been watching on

  • they stepped in to help with seed funding

  • Shan spent the entire pandemic building systems, and putting down roots

  • the movement grew exponentially as people realised what permanent ISO was

  • in 2022 she was awarded Australian of the Year ''Local Hero'' for her efforts