Melbourne, Jan 27 (Agencies): Recalling his school days in Australia, Prince Charles has said Australians used to taunt him as 'Pommy Bastard', a slang used in the country for English immigrants, which helped him build his character.

The heir to the British throne, who was in the country to pay tribute to flood victims, referred to his affection for Australians and said that his royal standing did not mean he escaped teasing at the Australian school he attended.

"As you can imagine I have a huge affection as a result. I went through my fair share of being called a Pommy Bastard I can assure you."

The Prince spent six months in the country as an exchange student at Timbertop, an outpost of Geelong Grammar School.

"I was in Australia all those years ago, 1966, a lot of people forget that. Aged 16 or 17 I was able to go around relatively privately and find out an awful lot about that part of the world.

Look what it's done for me. It has developed my character. If you want to develop character, go to Australia," he added.

The Prince of Wales, who was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, praised the flood victims' "extraordinary ability to survive, endure and somehow make jokes about the horror".

"It is a great opportunity to join you and above all else show solidarity and huge sympathy at what everyone in Australia has had to go through," he added.

"We also know just how people in communities are helping each other. Suddenly adversity produces extraordinary generosity of spirit and people working together perhaps hadn't quite happened in that way before," he said.

The Prince was invited to the function by High Commissioner John Dauth, who served as press secretary to the Prince and his mother the Queen from 1977 to 1980.