Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Rica Erickson, courtesy of Dorothy Erickson.


  • Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

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Erickson, Rica (1908 - 2009)

AM, Honorary Doctorate of Literature and Citizen of the Year 1980

10 August 1908
Boulder, Western Australia
8 September 2009
Botanical illustrator, Historian, Naturalist and Writer
Alternative Names
  • Erickson, Frederica
  • Sandilands, Frederica Lucy


Rica (Frederica) Erickson was born in Boulder in 1908 to Phoebe Cooke and Chris Sandilands, filter press operator. She was the eldest of eight children.

She stated in conversation, 'I could run as fast as any boy, I could jump further than most...I never ever thought there was any difference to start with, and the men respected me for what I was able to do'.

Rica attended Boulder State School. She won a scholarship to the Eastern Goldfields High School and then studied teaching, at Claremont Teachers College, working in various one-teacher schools in the South West where she painted local flora. She married Sydney Erickson in 1936 and had four children Dorothy, John, Bethel and Robin and worked raising a family, returning later to botanical studies in 1946 and writing history. She is the author of some twenty books on history and botany. In 2006 she was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in Western Australia's history and in 2007 won a State Heritage Award. She was publishing into her 99th year. Her paintings hang in Pittsburgh, London and Australia. Throughout her life and career her work was strongly linked to the development of the collections at the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History.

Rica died in Perth on 8 September 2009.

Sources used to compile this entry: Alafaci, Annette, 'Erickson, Frederica Lucy (Rica) (1908 - 2009)', in Encyclopedia of Australian Science, 2005,; Criena Fitzgerald and National Foundation for Australian Women, Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Australian Women's Archives Project, December 2012,; Erickson, Rica, A Naturalist's Life, University of Western Australia Press for the Charles and Joy Staples South West Region Publications Fund, Crawley, WA, 2004; Interview with Rica Erickson, 1991 - 1992, OH2526; State Library of Western Australia; A Tribute to Rica Erickson, 2001,

Archival resources

State Library of Western Australia

  • Interview with Rica Erickson, 1991 - 1992, OH2526; State Library of Western Australia. Details

Digital resources

Rica Erickson
Dorothy Erickson


Rica Erickson in her teens, Boulder
c. 1920
Dorothy Erickson


Dorothy Erickson

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