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Tribute to Joanne Shanahan


May 2020

The members of the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia were shattered by the news of the tragic death last week of a close friend and highly respected member of SA Police, Joanne Shanahan.

Chief Superintendent Shanahan, 55, was one of two people killed in the three-car collision, which happened at the intersection of Cross Road and Fullarton Road, Urrbrae, about 2.00pm on Saturday afternoon.

Her husband, 63-year-old Peter Shanahan, who was behind the wheel of their Holden SUV, was taken to hospital for treatment with minor injuries.

Tania McNeill, aged 53, also died behind the wheel of a silver BMW, while a 20-year-old man who was driving a 4WD Volkswagen is still in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

According to a witness the Volkswagen 4WD became airborne, crashed into a streetlight and then hit the SUV Holden driven by Mr Shanahan and the BMW which belonged to the second victim, Tania McNeil.

The Administrative Council of the Greek Orthodox Community of SA issued a statement on Monday morning expressing condolences to the families and Police SA on behalf of all the members of the community's peak association.

"On behalf of the President Bill Gonis and the Executive committee of the Greek Orthodox Community of SA (GOCSA), we pay our respects and send our condolences to a wonderful and beautiful person in Detective Chief Superintendent Joanne Shanahan APM", the statement reads.

GOCSA's statement makes reference to Joanne's elevation to SA Police highest posts and mentions that "last year in the January Australia Day Awards Chief Superintendent Joanne Shanahan received the Australian Police Medal – an award that recognised her distinguished service and hard work".

In 2019 GOCSA invited Joanne as a guest speaker for International Women’s Day.

Here is an extract of Joanne's speech about her life and role within the police force:

"I have been in SAPOL 38 years and it still is exciting as when I first joined. I still enjoy coming to work every day. I was the first Officer in management to have children and still am the only woman in our Executive group with children. I must say that I have been able to do what I have in my personal life and professional life because of my family and friends, they are important. It has been my mother, father and husband that have cared for the children when I have been at work, it has been my friends that have inspired me and kept me going when I have failed and it is the same people that I share the great moments with and laugh with. I thank those people."

Joanne was a proud mother of two children, devoted wife and loving daughter. Her parents long-time, loyal GOCSA members, Mr Nick and Mrs Christina Pana-yiotou always proud of Joanne.

The Greek Orthodox Community of SA notes that "our thoughts and prayers are with the Shanahan and Panayiotou families over the tragic, heart-breaking loss of Joanne. Together we grieve with the families, friends and the entire South Australian Police family during this most difficult time".

"We also express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Tania McNeill who also lost her life in the same tragic incident".

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