It was the name that caught my eye.
In a flash, the phrase ‘William Flick Lane’ hit me as I was driving home. After thinking about it for most of the week, I soon found myself heading down this seemingly nondescript lane, which was roughly 400 metres long, wedged between two busy roads.
Located in the town of Ewingsdale, just north of Byron Bay, William Flick Lane appears rather lifeless on the surface. Apart from two driveways that roll gently off this lonely, tree-laden lane, the road contains just one church and one house. Its trees, however, are wonderful. Towering, knotted, they lend the fleeting lane an old and silent beauty.
Being a sucker for a nice phrase, I was lured to this spot because of one pioneer, the eponymous William Flick, who, during the 1900s, contributed much to town life through investments, pest control and eventually politics. If his name had been something like Chad Sims, there’s a good chance I would have spent my Sunday morning someplace else.
Both he and his wife were largely responsible for the lane’s church. The lane, it appeared, was a shrine to this fellow. Always happy to explore somewhere new, I wandered down William Flick Lane just this morning, past the church, the only house and under its imposing trees into the woods.
Being an overcast day, the woods looked particularly green. I followed the scant remains of a trail, past old beer bottles to the edge of waist-high grass. Two butterflies danced above a sagged sheet of corrugated iron.
A little further was a pond. A lizard darted into the bush, a duck paddled furiously away and a fish sent ripples throughout the water, contorting reflections and jolting several lily pads. It was a wonderful scene, all the more so as I felt it was part of an urban shadow. An unfrequented lane with a quiet wood. I wonder how many of those there are?
I wandered back towards the church, in front of a chapel built in 1908 (fairly old for Australian standards) and spied a jacaranda tree in full-bloom. Then I took another look at the trees lining the road and thought what a sight they were. The earthly guardians of this lane.
William Flick Lane was telling me something I already knew, but always need reminding. To keep wandering, especially down the most nondescript-looking places. For it’s in such places where you’ll often be pleasantly surprised. Here is where you’ll make discoveries – about yourself, about others.
After a little more investigating, I found out William Flick formulated a ‘secret’ batch of chemicals during his pest control endeavours, patenting a way to rid the house of termites in 1937. What became commercially a common Australian pest control phrase, “one flick and they’re gone”, was named after William Flick.
Mr Flick was also apparently a good wood chopper, a nice bloke and an investigator of life. He lived around these parts. Here was his road.
Take a stroll down a road near your house, one you’ve never been to. Discover something new.
Maybe even a secret.