A funny thing happened at school today…

Extracted from Matamata College 1918 – 1993.



… the teacher who was conducting a lesson when the lights went out. “Put up your hands, everyone,” he instructed. The class did so, and at that moment the lights came on again. “Many hands make light work,” remarked the teacher, and carried on with the lesson .

… the boys on the New Caledonia trip whose French was not quite up to the notice requesting ladies not to flush sanitary pads down the toilet, and thought it meant toilet paper. So what did they do with the toilet paper?

… the furore when Mr Salt wanted to cut down the phoenix palms. Count among those who wish he had been allowed to wield the axe the many who have shivered in cold sunless A Block rooms, and groundsmen who have tackled the increasingly difficult and dangerous task of removing dead fronds. Now that the palms have grown beyond the reach of pruning the spiked fronds crash to the ground on windy days, a menace to life and limb .

… in 1956, Ian Franich after at last buying a new football Tersey, standing on the sideline for a whole game because of injury .

… in 1933, marching in column of twos to the beat of a kettle drum down to the Regent Theatre to see the film “The Three Live Ghosts”. Meanwhile, back at the brains factory, the teachers were able to spend a quiet afternoon marking exam papers .

… at dances in the Old Hall asking, and receiving by way of a gracious nod from Miss Tompkins, permission to leave the hall. And walking in the procession down the A Block corridor to the transformed class room, now A6 and A7, for supper .

… that in 1926 Form 118, forty years ahead of their time, debated the topic “Will the Russian scientists succeed in reaching the Moon?”. Speakers for the Affirmative, Messrs Fitzgerald, Wallace and Vincent, accurately predicted the use of rockets, and parachutes for re-entry. But the Negative won the debate .

… the teacher who used to lean out of the window and throw chalks at the sparrows whose twittering interrupted his train of thought .

… the Tongariro trip when Mr Parish and the expedition cook, having missed the bus, gave chase at high speed in Mr P’s two-seater car, with Mr Betts crammed in the boot to drive the car back to school after contact was finally made somewhere on the Tirau side of Rangipai School.

… the lady who, wishing to speak to Mr Danswan, rang the office and asked for Mr Swansdown .

… trying to keep up with Mr Lucas .

… at the fourth form camp, the instructor who carefully checked each pupil’s gear to see that nothing was omitted before departure by bus for the outcamp, only to find on arrival at Maungatautari that his own pack was still back at base camp .

… Mr Danswan, wishing to preserve the polish on his new floor, insisting that his classes should remove their shoes before entering. One day the principal visited the class, and enquired whether he too must remove his shoes. Mr Danswan pointed to one of his pupils. “Boy, who may come into this room with shoes on?” he asked. The boy sprang smartly to attention. “The Queen, Sir,” he replied .

… in the days before the advent of amplifiers , the megaphone (one Vic-power) by which all announcements for swimming and athletic sports were made from the end of the diving board or near the finishing tape .

… teams of boys pulling a horse-type park mower to cut the cricket pitches.