Noela and Tanya Ryan with Dusty the dog.
Noela and Tanya Ryan with Dusty the dog.

Special lives need support

LIKE sisters the world over, Noela and Tanya Ryan share the important things in life: Family celebrations, a home life, a love of chocolate and, of course, shopping for shoes.

Considered “practically inseparable” by their house mates they, like the rest of us, have juggled work, sport, hobbies and time out to walk the dog for the best part of 20 years.

Yet the compatible siblings have faced challenges few of us have to contend with: They both have intellectual disabilities.

Originally from Charleville in the State’s south west, they left their large family – seven boys and three girls – to move to the Endeavour Foundation-supported accommodation facility in Warwick in the early 1980s.

Tanya, the elder of the two,arrived in 1982, Noela – two years her junior – made the move the following year.

The shift to the Rose City meant the two could work full time under the Endeavour Industries mantle and live in fully supported accommodation at Glennie Heights.

Speaking with the Daily News the pair talked of finding joy in life’s little things: Cooking the perfect pizza or chocolate slice, watching the Broncos win a league game and walking their trusty canine friend Dusty.

“We like looking after Dusty, I like it when the Broncos win and we really like shopping,” Noela explained.

When pressed on their retail therapy preferences, the younger of the two women was happy to expand: “We love buying junk food, especially chocolate, and we like shopping for shoes.”

Like their female counterparts everywhere, the search for the perfect footwear has proved no mean feat.

“Tanya needs some new shoes for our brother’s wedding in Toowoomba in July,” Noela said.

“It is going to be cold so I am wearing black boots.”

But shopping takes a back seat when the pair are involved with individual hobbies.

Noela has in recent years rediscovered a love of painting and, under the tutelage of the Warwick Artists’ Group, has refined her style.

The lessons paid dividends this year: The amateur artist won first prize with a flora and fauna piece at the Warwick Show and highly commended for a still-life piece.

Tanya likes her interests to be a little less sedentary.

When she retired recently from full-time work at Endeavour Industries, she rekindled an interest in basketball and looks forward to playing competition sport.

“We have good lives, we’re happy and we’re looking forward to going to that wedding,” Noela said.

But in the meantime there is work and house cleaning and finding time to catch up on their favourite television shows.

This month the Endeavour Foundation is asking Warwick residents to support people like Noela and Tanya through the Joy of Giving Appeal.

The appeal focuses on supporting those with intellectual disabilities to live ordinary lives in our community.

Endeavour provides accommodation and employment opportunities in Rose City, which open up new worlds of opportunities forpeople with a disability.

Their work is only possible thanks to the support of donors and volunteers.

The Endeavour Foundation currently helps with supported employment, support for people to live in their own homes, learning and lifestyle opportunities, assisting people in the open employment market, respite services, post school programs and vacation care.


Endeavour’s Joy of Giving Appeal asks people to support life-changing services which allow people like Tanya and Noela Ryan to enjoy ordinary lives. Donations to 1300 GIVING (1300 448 464) or via

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