Montana Ah-won won Indigenous Apprentice of the Year at the 2016 National NAIDOC Awards and was recently recruited to Wunan House B&B as a Guest Services Assistant.
She is a Mirrwoong Gajerroong girl from Kununurra – the proud youngest daughter of Geraldine Ah-won and granddaughter of Ronnie Carlton and Ivy Roberts. Her grandfather is a well-known Mirriwoong Gajerroong elder and is a role model for Montana.
When she was just two years old, Montana’s mother passed away from an alcohol-related disease. She was adopted by one of her mother’s good friends, Frank Trillini, an Italian man originally from the small town of Assisi.
“I spent the first sixteen years of my life growing up in a small two-bedroom house with just me and my dad. It was the best childhood anyone could ask for – I had it all,” Montana says.
But, sadly, in June 2014 Montana’s adoptive father also passed away.
“My world was torn apart when I lost him. He was the only person who had ever loved me and cared for me, and his love is what has made me the person I am today.”
As Guest Services Officer at Wunan House B&B, Montana cleans and services rooms, checks guests in and out, and talks to guests about the attractions of the region and any events that might be coming up. She says being part of the Wunan team has been very rewarding for her.
“It gives me the chance to be better, with all the help and resources Wunan has to offer, and it takes me a step closer to reaching my goals,” Montana says.
Montana says that in the future she hopes to be the best she can possibly be and wants to become a role model for others, so that people follow in her footsteps and get into employment.
“I want to increase the number of Aboriginal people in work and decrease the number of terrible social issues we face here in my town. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m going to take it one step at a time.”