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Desley Rial OAM

Desley Rial is an inspirational figure in the Capricorn Coast community. She has dedicated her life to helping, advocating and supporting others wherever she goes.

Her compassion, drive and devotion to the community has been recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Desley was overwhelmed with the news of her award and couldn’t believe she was being recognised for doing something she always wanted to do and something that she loved.

Desley Rial OAM


“I have to say, with all honesty, that the day I opened the letter telling me I had been awarded the Order of Australia Medal for my achievements, would without question be the ultimate highlight of my life.”

Desley believes that although an Order of Australia award is given to an individual, it is to be shared with community members who are giving their all for fellow citizens.

She moved to the Capricorn Coast in 1987, where she continued to donate her time and community spirit by helping organisations with their administrative requirements, fundraising and dealing with Government Agencies and Councils.

As the existing organisations and charities continued to flourish, Desley turned her generosity and attention to setting up new groups.

“As the town grew so too did the needs of the residents. I was privileged to be able to work with the community in setting up such groups as the Capricorn Coast Healthy Ageing Group, Low Vision Group, Multicultural Group, Disability Access and Equity group, Keppel Coast Dirt Bike Club and the Capricorn Adventist Village Action Group.

Desley Rial OAM

“I have lost count of the number of clubs, organisations and individuals that I have assisted over the years, but the walls of my office are lined with over 30 framed certificates of appreciation.”

In the mid 1990’s, Desley noticed a lack of disability access and facilities in Yeppoon and nearby coastal region. This gave her great concern and she felt she needed to take action.

“I soon realised that if I was to get something done about this I would need to be able to talk to Council and Government Officers with more authority. Hence my decision to stand for the Livingstone Shire Council in 1997. I was duly elected, and went on to serve for eleven years as chair of the Corporate and Community Services Committee.”

Together Desley, her Council colleagues and the Community Services Department worked towards creating a disability friendly town and region. They saw major businesses put in self-opening doors, ramp access and disabled toilets. The council updated public spaces to include more inclusive toilets, walkways and parking.

Desley was recognised through the Order of Australia because of her extraordinary contribution to her local community. Her award was made possible because she was nominated by someone in the community – find out how you can nominate someone in your life.

Desley Rial OAM