Tags: Bribie Island history. Brisbane. Queensland
When our September Islander Extraordinaire was given his nickname because of his actions on the football field whilst still at school, I doubt that he even considered the possibility that many years later, most people would still be calling him by that name and I reckon that quite a few of them probably don’t even know what his Christian name really is. In fact he told me that when he hears someone call out to Wayne, he usually looks around to see who they are talking to.
Featured Image(above): Flash Farley with the bike that he rode in the Wynn’s Safari
Flash Farley is the son of Ukulele Strummers musician, Joy Ross who was featured in this series some time ago and he has been a part of the Bribie Island community since moving here from Dubbo almost thirty years ago. After leaving school, and perhaps even driven by his nickname, Wayne became a qualified electrician. Making the most of his nickname, he founded “Flash Farley Electrical” and, after some time, commenced a Hygiene business which he built up and sold.
After his relocation to the island, he began another hygiene company, servicing a wide area that included Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Once again, his obvious expertise as a business operator resulted in the business being so successful that he was able to attract a keen buyer. As well as being a successful businessman, Flash is an avid enthusiast competitor in motoring events and describes himself as a modern day adventurer. During his time in Dubbo, he competed in a number of 5,300 km Wynn’s Safari Sydney to Darwin motorbike endurance events which he pointed out were more of a race than a rally, finishing first in his class in the 1982 event.
Bogged on Lake Torrens
‘There would always be about 150 bikes commence the event but only between eight and twelve would finish,’ Flash recalled. ‘In 1988 I competed in an event which went from Alice Springs to Darwin and then back to Adelaide which was a distance of approximately ten thousand kilometres,’ he said. Flash is also recognised as the first person to cross the dry salt Lake Torrens, which is 450kms north of Adelaide, on a motorbike and, along with companions “Lucky” Kiezer, Glenn Middleton and Venn Roberts, he rode his Honda XR 500 over 4,000 km in scorching temperatures to complete the arduous trek.
In an effort to make his ride more comfortable, Flash replaced the seat on the Honda with a well worn horse saddle. The crossing of Lake Torrens proved to be much more difficult than the team of adventurers expected due to the bikes becoming repeatedly bogged in the quicksand-like mud of the lake. At one stage, they were stuck for two days but after altering their direction, were able to complete the thirty kilometre crossing, navigating by compass by day and the stars at night. ‘It was hell at times but we took it in small doses and eventually made it through,’ Flash reportedly said.
‘At times we felt a bit like the early pioneers and really didn’t know what was going to be over the next hill,’ he added. In other past exploits, Flash has crossed the Simpson Desert several times and, as an example of his thirst for a bit of adventure, he did tell me that treks such as this were just for a bit of fun during the summer. ‘We used to go out there when we could get a bit of time off and there were very few other people around,’ he explained.
I have to admit that when Flash mentioned that he had also ridden around Australia in only fourteen days, raising about $40,000 for charity, I wasn’t particularly surprised. That is just the type of man he is. Following on from his earlier adventures, our Extraordinaire has been a regular participant in the biennial “Destination Outback” rallies which are organised by the South Dubbo Rotary Club and he told me that since the event was first held in 1990, he has only missed one.
He pointed out that since it’s inception, the event had raised in excess of two million dollars, the majority of which is to aid the Royal Flying Doctor Service. ‘There are also donations made to various other worthy causes that are identified in the places the rally visits,’ said Flash. I caught up with Flash when he had just returned from the latest “Destination Outback” rally which had begun at the New South Wales town of Collie, just to the north of Dubbo, and taken the entrants through Cunnamulla to Longreach and then back via Tambo, Nindigully and Tooloombilla to finish at Armatree.
Paul Schaeller, Flash Farley and Barry France during their stop at Tooloombilla Station on the 2018 rally
‘This year there were forty nine vehicles and we raised over $200,000,’ Flash said. “$10,000 of that was donated to the Farm Aid appeal. The rally took seven days to complete and we travelled about three thousand kilometres through the outback. These events are a great way to enjoy the company of others who just want to get away and the camaraderie is really good,’ he added. Other locals who participated in the 2018 rally were Ann and Barry France as well as Paul Schaeller.
Obviously, Flash Farley is a man who is driven by his desire to be successful in whatever he becomes involved in and after he built up then sold his hygiene business, he became the operator of a storage facility and caravan storage yard. He told me that he also runs an internet marketing business, concentrating on business directories, websites and video production.
Writing this series about local people who can best be described as having led an interesting and certainly not boring life provides me with the opportunity to meet and talk to some very extraordinary members of the Bribie Island Community and Wayne “Flash” Farley is certainly one of those.