Amanda Walker | Class of 1998


WA HomeStay’s Amanda Walker (NEE Montagu) has cemented her status as one of the state’s leading entrepreneurs by winning the 40 Under 40 Award at The Australian Business Awards. Undeterred by the presence of Airbnb and Stayz in the holiday rental online marketplace, Amanda set up her online booking platform two years ago and has since seen remarkable success with offering local homes to travellers. 

‘We are different because we only charge guests a 5 percent booking fee, compared to others that charge up to 20 percent,’ she told Community News’ Carmelle Wilkinson (also Class of 1998). ‘We believe a local booking platform is fairer for both owners and guests, as it gives back to the WA community and promotes sustainable tourism at the same time.’

Amanda was due to receive the honour in March, but the onset of COVID-19 delayed the ceremony to September. While the unprecedented global health crisis had a significant effect worldwide, it was especially felt in Western Australia due to a hard border closure restricting travel. However, with West Australians seeking to holiday within the state, demand for local holiday rentals is picking back up again.  

Amanda is a believer in ‘giving it a go’, where anything is possible if you search for and find the right way to go about it. After graduating from Av԰ Christi, Amanda went on to attain a Business degree from Curtin University before then working in corporate finance at global advisory firm BDO. She travelled the world and fell in love with exploring, and on return to Perth retrained as a teacher – in her view, a great exercise in forming meaningful relationships. When the idea for WA HomeStay came to her in 2018, she then drew on all the skills she’d acquired from every aspect of her journey to bring her vision to life.

These skills dated back to her time in high school. Reflecting on her time at Av԰, she told Av԰ Spirit, ‘The most valuable part was working out how I learnt best. Trying different study techniques and working out what worked helped me through uni and beyond.’ The camps are her favourite memory, where students were pushed out of their comfort zones through climbing, orienteering and working as a team, all while having fun. 

Her advice for fellow Av԰ community members: ‘Everything you learn has a use. Even if you are only in a job for a relatively small amount of time, the skills you learn will help you in other facets of your life. Make the most of every opportunity.’ 

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