Jack Flick, Son of Founder W.A. Flick, Passes Away

Sadly, Albert (Jack) Flick, one of Australia’s legendary business men passed away on 10/1/2016. AJ, as he was known to friends and family was born at Bangalow NSW, about  167 kms south of Brisbane on 17/4/1921.  He was 95 years old and the 2nd son of William Albert & Phyllis Flick.

Jack’s father WA Flick founded WA Flick & Co. It’s slogan, “Remember—one Flick and they’re gone,” was very well known and part of Australia’s advertising heritage. Jack spent his early life in Glen Innes & Perth, but ended up being settled in 1928 at Hornsby in the Northern suburbs of Sydney.

Jack started the expansion of Flick & Co into the Pacific region. In the 1980s Flick & Co was the largest pest control company in Australia. Reluctantly Jack sold in 1986, and at the time it was also the largest family-owned company in Australia. Jack was an A-grade competition tennis player in his private life, a devoted husband, father and grandfather and a great Australian.  His simple epitaph reads “a life well lived”.

Flick Pest Control History

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W A Flick & Company Pty. Ltd. was founded in early 1918 by Mr. William Albert Flick, affectionately nickname as “Albie”. Albert was a direct descendant of the early pioneers in the Richmond River are of NSW.

William’s grandfather was an early settler and farmer, his cattle run was included in a part of the site now occupied by the city of Lismore. His father took up land at an early date in Ewingsdale, not far from Byron Bay. Mr. W. A. subsequently followed this example by attaining a property near Mullumbimby.

Pest Control in the years preceding 1918 was an fairly unknown science and any buildings that were best by termites was all but doomed. This gave birth to the practice of extreme secrecy in these cases where damage was patched up, hidden, and the property was listed for sale promptly in hopes of shifting the doomed property.

In any case it was the type of family secret that was not divulged to one’s closest of friends. Mr. W.A Flick had owned his property for several years prior to 1918 , and like others was troubled by termite attack during this period in several of the buildings. Although greatly concerned about the ultimate fat of his property, there was no evidence of panic and this period was marked by persistent experimentation in an endeavor to overcome this troublesome problem.

His failures to find a remedy during this time were so many that when he finally succeeded in eradicating a termite colony from his residence, he could not at first believe that he had achieved what was then generally considered impossible.  When it is said that he found it difficult to believe his good fortune, we indicated the next great problem that was to remain for many years to come. We refer to the difficulty of convincing property owners that something could be done to overcome their termite problems.

Undaunted by early skepticism Mr. Flick carried out numerous termite treatments to properties of friends, relations, and prominent citizens, largely without charge, in an endeavour to establish the truth of his claims. The testimonials and recommendations from these favours soon began to gain recognition as the news spread. A volume of enquiries came for his services.

A combination of initiative, enthusiasm and the encouragement of a wife who was quick to see the potential of his discovery resulted in the early establishment of the first “FLICK MAN”. The early 1920’s saw the early establishment of a thriving business with “FLICK MEN” working enthusiastically in Sydney, Brisbane and the coastal areas of New South Wales.

In 1924 Mr. Flick moved his family from the coast to a new home at the Glen Innes in the New England Tablelands district of New South Wales, and it was not long before he had a business firmly established in this area. With another “Flick Man” installed Mr. Flick once again demonstrated his courage by setting out with his family for the then remote city of Perth in Western Australia.

The well established methods mixed with a good helping of initiative and drive, made the name ‘Flick’ a permanent fixture in Western Australia from 1927 onward. Leaving another Flick man functioning in Perth, Mr. Flick once again moved his family, this time to Sydney in an epic overland car trip which rivalled the car trials of today. The roads of the Nullarbor Plains being literally tracks, whilst petrol supplies and service facilities were non existent.

1928 found the Flick family settled in a North Shore suburb in Sydney with Mr. Flick anxious to expand the business. He promptly and efficiently set out to achieve this objective. In spite of the depression years that were shortly to afflict the country, the expansion programme was largely maintained and the early 1930’s saw a thriving business established in South Australia with its headquarters in Adelaide.

Steady progress was maintained until 1936. This year marked the entry of the next generation of Flicks into the business and a family partnership arrangement was established in this year. Under this new trading arrangement, expansion continued with particular attention to the development of various country centres in a number of states and consolidation of established areas.

World War II put a temporary end to growth, although by this time pest control was an accepted and important service in our community. During the war years the Flick Organisation was called upon heavily by the Armed Services for various types of pest control work and such importance was placed upon this work that our business was declared a Protected Undertaking.

The end of the war and the return of staff from Services saw the wheels of progress start to turn again and soon the pressure was really on. The steady progress of the past, awakened from its period of forced idleness, soon became a tremendous surge of development.

It was soon obvious that the old order of things would not cope with the new conditions, and Mr. W.A. saw fit at this stage to place much more responsibility on his sons and son-in-law, who were working as a team in the business, for the routing management of the organisation. These events led to the eventual formation of W.A. Flick & Co Pty Ltd in 1947.

This company took over the business previously conducted by the family partnership and the resulting reorganization and streamlining of records and management considerably strengthened the organisation. Whereas formerly the heavy burden of management rested largely on one pair of shoulders, the advantages of functioning under the new arrangement with Mr. Flick directing operations as Chairman of Directors and the management being left to the younger generation of flicks and Mr. Taylor (son-in-law) as Secretary of the Company, was soon apparent.

The years following the formation of the new company were extremely busy for all concerned. The system of independent branch offices complete with Branch Manager and office staff was brought into full operation, and the Company’s services were carried to remote country areas through our system of District Offices and local representatives.

By 1952 the Australian mainland was effectively covered by Flickmen with resident operators in virtually every main town in the Commonwealth, and the Directors at last had the opportunity to examine the persistent enquiries from the Papua-New Guinea area. As a result of an exploratory mission, 1953 saw the information of our Company’s first subsidiary W.A. Flick & Co (New Guinea) Pty. Ltd. With branches at Port Moresby and Rabaul, this Company was soon following the example of its parent and the Island communities were able to enjoy their first resident Pest Control Service with operational areas centred at Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, and Wewak.

The urge to expand will never stop and 1960 saw the formation of our Branch in Fiji, 1962 a further branch was opened in the New Hebrides and 1963 saw the opening of two more overseas branches, the first of French soil being opened at Noumea in New Caledonia and the first on American soil being opened in Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands.

Flick is now unique in the widespread, on-the-spot service it is able to give throughout Australia, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, New Britain, Fiji, Singapore, New Hebrides, Solomons, New Caledonia, Hawaii and many Pacific Islands encompassed by this group.

W.A. Flick & Company became part of the CIG group of companies in July 1986 and now has the financial backing of one of Australia’s largest businesses. As we move out of the eighties and into the nineties, Flick continues to be one of the most dynamic and exciting companies in Australia.