Dayna Trevaskis: It’s more about people than about building

Dayna Trevaskis, 29, Architect

Dayna Trevaskis

I’m from Geeveston, in southern Tasmania, from a family of three people now – we were four, but my mum died. Now it’s just my dad, my brother Timmy, and me.
Geeveston was an awesome place to grow up despite being a redneck town. We lived out of town on the river. A bloody good place to grow up. Timmy and I were good mates, we’d run around the paddocks and make cubbies.

It was different to growing up in a town as there were no other kids. We had to make the most of our own company. But we had a shack about half an hour away. We’d go there for summer for two months. There were twelve shacks, all the kids were the same age as us, we’d go diving and water skiing together.

At eighteen, I left home to go to university in Hobart. It was really lucky that Mum and Dad bought a flat [in Hobart] for Timmy and me. We lived together, and it was pretty cool.

After all those different places I’ve lived in, Hobart is definitely somewhere I’ll always come back to. The mountain coming down to Salamanca, everything’s unplanned – you can hook up with people, it’s easy to run into people you know.
It can also be stifling, but as long as you’re not a bastard, as long as you treat people good, it’s alright.

At university I studied architecture. I would have stayed [in Tasmania] but the school of architecture moved to Launceston. I thought ‘bugger that! I’ll go to Melbourne.’

Dayna TrevaskisI had a year off between third and fourth year. First I started working for the second year tutors, then I went to Nepal. While I was there my Mum died. I came home. My trip had been stunted, and I was really confused. I started guiding bushwalking trips on the Freycinet Peninsula three weeks after that.

My mother had breast cancer, for seven years. Her death was pivotal. I didn’t want to be around friends. Guiding takes everything out of you; you kind of ignore your own needs and pander to other people. It was also the first time Timmy and I were apart.

I returned to Melbourne – three weeks later. Timmy came, and said ‘I hate it here’ – he was on his way to Canada. After one semester I went and booked a ticket and worked for four months as a cook at a rafting centre. I was back with Timmy and with cool people.

At the end of the season I had that guiding angst thing. I went back to Melbourne, dumped my stuff and went to Thailand for two weeks, and on to Nepal. I met Dad there, too. Dad and Timmy went around and scattered Mum’s ashes everywhere. I couldn’t let go of my bit of the ashes.

Once I got back home, I knew a woman at Cradle [Mountain Huts], and got a job with them. The thing about guiding is you meet people you’d never normally meet. I remember meeting a Federal Court judge from the US; he was a really funky guy. The conversations you have can be spot on, they can push your mind, particularly when you’re younger and they’re older. It goes both ways – they get perspective from you too. They wouldn’t listen to their kids, but out of their comfort zone [on the track] they listen to you. Those conversations are one of the things I really miss about guiding.

Sometimes issues come up. There was a game we played once with questions, basically scenarios, where you made character judgements, like “would you cheat on your partner if …” It turned into a nightmare.

Between the start and the finish of the [six day] trip, you have so much time to get to know people. In architecture by comparison, you get small slots of time with people. Guiding is a very unique job.

Now I’m a qualified architect. I’m doing kind of low key stuff, it’s comparatively fun now. It’s very different to uni, I think that’s probably because at uni we spent heaps of time doing drafting, and now I’m spending heaps of time with builders and on sites more. It’s more about people than about building.

Dayna TrevaskisI talked to Dayna on Saturday the 2nd of June, 2007, Hobart, Tasmania. This is the first interview of the StoryTransect series. I worked for Cradle Mountain Huts for six seasons.


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