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In 1980 Rica was awarded one of four honorary degrees by the University of Western Australia to distinguished Western Australians for their outstanding contributions to the community. She joined His Excellency Air Chief Marshall Sir Wallace Kyle, Governor of Western Australia, the Hon. Sir Ronald Wilson and Kim Beazley, Sr when she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

In Western Australian Week of the same year she was named Western Australian Citizen of the Year in the category of the Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Awarded annually since 1972, the awards were to honour individuals and service organisations that have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to the advancement of the community and State of Western Australia. Other Western Australians to have been awarded this honour include John Birman (1973), Emeritus Prof. Sir Frank Callaway (1975), Robert Juniper (1979), Jack Davis (1985) and Elizabeth Jolley (1987).

In 1982, at Tom Collins House, she was awarded honorary life membership of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA).

The award of Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the arts as an author and illustrator followed in the 1987 Queens birthday honours list.



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