Dan Walding

All I ever wanted to do was be a scientist and learn another language. Specifically to be a geologist and learn Spanish. I loved dinosaurs, planets, and volcanoes. And I’d read in surfing magazines about the perfect waves in South America, and something about all the women being beautiful!

So off I went, it was 1991 and I was a green 17 year old with an admission slip to La Trobe. I was excited, apprehensive, and a bit bewildered. I remember the first issue of Rabelais had a picture of a haunted house on the cover with the caption: “La Trobe University – abandon all hope ye who enter here!” What was I in for?

I took geology, Spanish, archaeology, philosophy, and I forget what else. The archaeologists were at pains to tell us that “It’s not like Indiana Jones!” (they were right). The philosophers kept banging on about cats in boxes. The Spanish lecturers tried doggedly to teach us how to roll our ‘r’s and conjugate the verb ‘to go’. The geology lecturers all had beards (way before it was hip), but they were cool because they drank the most beer.

Since I was a kid from the coast, I lived on campus. I had three colleges to choose from and chose Chisholm because on the map it seemed to be closest to the Union Bar. Really! What crazy days. Lectures in the ELT, lunch in the Ag, drinks in the Union Bar, SWOTVAC in¬†Borchardt Library, and blisters on my finger from three hour exams in the Union Hall. And, of course, O Week, bar night, College balls, the Ring Road relay, and the rumour about the nuclear fall out shelter deep beneath La Trobe. I still don’t know if it’s true or not.

Four years later and I had an Honours degree in geology, and fairly ordinary Spanish. Twenty-six years later and I still work as a geologist, have visited over 70 countries, and am married to a beautiful Colombian. I guess the Spanish paid off!

So thanks La Trobe! Happy 50th!