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Pictured above: Anita Leedie.

Growing up in Cherbourg in Queensland did not offer Anita Leedie many opportunities.

For Anita, staying at AHL’s Iris Clay Hostel in Townsville while studying at TAFE was a lifechanging experience. It started her journey to a career with AHL, now in its 35th year.

During AHL’s 50th anniversary celebrations Anita was presented with a certificate of service recognising her contribution to the company.

While at Iris Clay, Anita experienced firsthand what AHL’s hostels do and what they offer First Nations people and decided she wanted the opportunity to be part of it.

When the army transferred her husband and they moved to Darwin, Anita’s opportunity appeared. She answered an advertisement for a cook at Galawu Hostel and was successful.

‘I was a cook but I did domestic work, night porter, a bit of everything. AHL gave me training in things like first aid, food safety and work, health and safety. These opportunities made me see what I could do,’ she said.

At Galawu, Anita was mentored as a trainee manager by assistant manager, Phillip Talbot. From there she moved to Silas Roberts Hostel as manager.

By the mid-1990s she was also relief manager for all of the Northern Territory (NT) hostels. Still based in the NT she also had stints as relief manager in Western Australia and South Australia.

Eventually Anita and her husband transferred back to Townsville where she is Operations Manager for Queensland.

Looking back on her long career, Anita believes the greatest benefit AHL gives its residents is a place to stay where they are comfortable and safe.

They can walk in and feel at home!

On her father’s line Anita is Wakka Wakka and on her mother’s line Wulgurukaba.