Medal to toast efforts of prison volunteer

Isabelle Sophia Kearsley received a medal at Government House for service to the community of Rosewood
Isabelle Sophia Kearsley received a medal at Government House for service to the community of Rosewood "through a substantial number of community organisations in fields including aged care, the arts, public speaking, local history, the interests of rural women, and education" at Government House in Brisbane. Photo Rae Wilson / Newsdesk Rae Wilson

AFTER spending decades teaching children and helping women gain a voice, Isabelle Kearsley is most proud of helping reform prisoners.

For 14 years Mrs Kearsley visited Borallon Prison every week as a Toastmasters member to help prisoners.

"They were just normal people in there," she said.

"It was a bit frightening when you heard those gates shut behind you for the first time.

"But I loved it. After a while you forgot you were in prison."

Mrs Kearsley was on Thursday awarded the medal of the Order of Australia in the general division.

She was awarded for her service to Rosewood through community organisations, aged care, the arts, public speaking, local history, education and the interests of rural women.

The great-grandmother was born in Brisbane where she began her career as a teacher - a profession she worked in for 47 years.

After working in small schools across Queensland she settled with her husband in Rosewood.

Mrs Kearsley said she believed over the past three decades Queensland women had been able to find more of a voice.

"I wanted to help women be able to speak and assert themselves," she said.

"I think that has definitely improved over the last 30 years."

Despite all the work she has done for the Rosewood community the humble Mrs Kearsley said she still did not feel like she deserved the recognition.

"I was excited to win the award but I did feel that there were many other people in the community who had done more to deserve it than me," she said.


Topics:  order of australia toastmasters

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