Arthur Rees is 100 years old and still giggles at his schoolboy prank.
It was 1920 – or thereabouts – and Mr Rees had returned to class after lunch with a giant Gobstopper-like lolly parked in the side of his cheek, hoping his teacher wouldn’t notice.
A classmate saw it though. ‘‘You give me one or I’ll tell the teacher,’’ the boy threatened.
Mr Rees only had the one lolly, so when the other boy turned, he removed it from his mouth, wiped it on his trousers and handed it over – but not before he rubbed it against a fiery chilli concealed under his desk.
‘‘When the heat of the chilli hit him he spat it from the back seat right onto the teacher’s desk,’’ Mr Rees said.
‘‘I became hysterical. That’s when the teacher came with the cane. The more he hit me the more I laughed. I couldn’t stop.’’
Mr Rees was among an audience at celebrations marking the 130th anniversary of Woonona Public School yesterday.
The oldest in the room, he was given cake-cutting honours as his great-great-niece, year 2 student Ella Drady, looked on.
Acting principal Wayne Bland told the audience there was ‘‘a lot of history in this room’’.
‘‘There are people from three or four or five generations who’ve ... all gone [to the school],’’ he said.
The audience included former student Mary Prior, 87, who travelled from the Gold Coast to see the school now attended by her great-granddaughter Keira Rejske, a kindergarten student.
Students dressed in yesteryear costumes and played old-fashioned games such as jacks, coites and marbles.
Visitors were invited to tour the classrooms, no longer housing chalkboards but computers and electronic smart boards.