Outback hairdresser a cut above rest

Leah Maclean and Charelle Williams
Hairdressing lecturer Leah McLean (left) congratulates Cherelle Williams on winning the Liz Abotomey Award for most improved hairdressing student.

Charles Darwin University hairdressing apprentice Cherelle Williams works at one of the most remote salons in the world but that hasn’t stopped her from winning a student excellence award.

Cherelle, who works for the Ltyentye Apurte Hair Salon at Santa Teresa community on the edge of the Simpsons Desert, won the Liz Abotomey Award for most improved hairdressing student at the Hair and Beauty Prize Giving ceremony in Alice Springs recently.

“It’s been a tough year,” the Eastern Arrernte woman said.

“We’re just getting back on our feet after a change of management at the salon and the interruption from COVID, which forced us to shut our doors for a while.”

Cherelle, who was born, raised and has no plans to ever leave Ltyentye Apurte, said the salon was an important service for the remote community.

“I’m going to finish my qualification and help run the salon for the community,” she said.

“I come to the Alice Springs campus about six times a year for training blocks.”

Cherelle, who has been working towards a Certificate III for the past two years, said the salon was open to community members and visitors.

“We’re also open during Youth Nights, each Wednesday,” she said.

Cherelle’s trainer Leah Maclean said the most improved award was named in honour of former CDU Hairdressing lecturer and Alice Springs business woman Liz Abotomey who passed away in 2016.

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