Trevor Corbell, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was
21, received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his
service to the community in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours
Mr Corbell, 74, (pictured), has served countless Prime Ministers
as a senior advisor, later turning his skills to serve local
government and Diabetes Australia.
In a report published in the Albert and Logan News, Mr Corbell
said he was honoured to receive the medal for his service to the
"You don't expect these things," he said.
"I won't use the cliche … but my view is that you never get
there in isolation. No-one does anything on their own."
Mr Corbell was also awarded a Kellion Medal in 2017 for
living with type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years.
The Eagleby resident's start to life was anything but easy.
Mr Corbell was born blind in one eye and at just two weeks old
was adopted by a family in Adelaide.
He was taken out of high school aged 14 and was diagnosed with
type 1 diabetes aged 21.
Despite his rocky beginning, Mr Corbell went on to work for the
Australian Government, first at the Woomera Rocket Range, a
military testing facility.
He then moved to Canberra where he worked in the Department of
Prime Minister and also as a senior Prime Ministerial adviser.
"I had the closest dealings with Hawke, Keating, Fraser and had
a little bit of Whitlam," he said.
In 1993, he retired as a "desk jockey" and went to work with
Diabetes Australia as the first advocacy manager for the national
He successfully lobbied for the inclusion of lantus, a long
acting insulin, on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,
and for insulin pump consumables to be free.
In late 2006, he followed his wife Di back to the Adelaide Hills
and fell into local government.
"If you make a complaint about what council's not doing, someone
will expect you to do something about it," he said.
Mr Corbell was elected as a councillor for the Mt Barker
District Council and later became deputy mayor.
In 2015 his health deteriorated and he required a quintuple
"I nearly didn't make it," Mr Corbell said.
"I was told I would need to get out of that pressure system or I
wouldn't see Christmas."
He moved to Ruby Gardens over 50s retirement village in Eagleby
with Di. The "eternal volunteer" now sits on the