Hi, I’m Alison. I have been with WISE Employment and Clean Force for almost 6 years. I currently work on the Melbourne Airport Rail Infrastructure Project in Tullamarine. I have been working there since November 2022, when the project commenced. I love my job, and I love working for Clean Force.
I was born in Alice Springs during a time when the Australian Government were removing children from their Aboriginal families. My tribal affiliation is with the Luritja Tribe from the Northern Territory (Haarts Bluff). The Australian Welfare Department uplifted me from my home and sent me to Croker Island to a Methodist Mission. I was 5 years old.
After two years of being there, an Australian family adopted me and my early childhood memories are of me growing up in East Gippsland in a small place called Boisdale on a dairy farm. My culture and language were no longer a part of me.
While growing up I was never encouraged to be a youngster but rather I was told what to do, when to do it how, to do it and when to eat and sleep – I was 7yrs old. I grew up without having any confidence in myself and not believing that I was good enough, as I was always in the background which made me feel that I didn’t matter – I felt left out.
At the age of 22 I travelled back to Alice Springs and reconnected with my birth mother and extended family. For me it was like stepping into a new world – one that I knew nothing about. This time spent with my birth family was when I was able to make connections with who I really was. I have a 75yr old sister still living in Alice Springs – she is the keeper of my history, and I will visit her soon to complete my own cultural story in the hope of being able to pass this on to my son.
From the first day I had my interview at Clean Force – I felt like I mattered. Vickie (my supervisor) has always been there to help with overcoming any challenges in my role from day one. She has listened to me and encouraged me when I did not think I could do things – she made me believe that I was able to. She has been patient, understanding of my varying situations (both personal and workwise), she has trusted me and she has always believed in me. Jim (the big boss) is a kind man and I think he has done a good job with all his supervisors because they are all good to me – Tony and Sophie have always been there to support me when I have needed it. My self-confidence since joining Clean Force has increased and I feel that I am more at ease when I talk with people – I do not shy away from conversations as I did in the past.
I work independently, which means that I can get the work done to Clean Force standards, which also align with my own. I have enjoyed meeting people across all sites that I have worked on and feel that I have formed good relationships with everyone that I have come in to contact with.
Although I never had an opportunity to be-immersed into my cultural upbringing – I know that the stories, knowledge, history and experience of who we are as a people is extremely important. The Aboriginal Elders are the only people that can impart all of this to the younger generation. They have an important role and need to be respected for who they are and for the wealth of information that they have and can bring to the forefront.
My advice to others who may have similar experiences to me, is to believe that there will always be someone there for you.