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HIGH SCHOOL DAYS (1921 - 1925)

When C.J. de Garis opened up Kendenup Estate, the Sandilands family moved to Kendenup in 1921 and purchased a small block of orchard land. While the rest of the family worked to establish their small farm, Rica, who had won an entrance to the Eastern Goldfields High School, remained in Boulder with her much loved grandmother and visited her family during the school holidays. Her childhood interests included Girl Guides, playing hockey and other sports, music, photography, visiting the local library and exploring the Boulder district on her bike.

It was a wonderful place for children because children could go bush, when they grew old enough, when the parents knew that they were safe enough to find their way home again. Or else they were told they could go as far as the cemetery. 'You can go as far as the cemetery and then you must come home.' We were always obedient about it. Then we could go as far as the little farm. Now that was the dairy farm which grew a crop which was right next to the cemetery. And then we were allowed to go later as far as Mount Robinson, which was about a four-mile hike, and that was quite enough.

Right throughout the town and all the way out to Mount Robinson, there were relics of the gold digging days with the shafts, open shafts, and even on the way to school, on the corner, I can remember vividly a shaft.

It was a great sense of freedom; wide open landscape. You could see for miles and even when you went bush, of course, a lot of trees had been cut down, but never would have been very closely clothed with trees, and the fact that you could see so far was so free and easy and wonderful.

I still relate to that, and I still relate to the tawny colours of the summer time. I don't mind the dry red earth, and I like the tawny colours of the dying vegetation, the yellows, the silvery colours and the creamy colours through to the yellows and the dark straw colours that you get when you see a whole lot of bush that's just dried off. It stirs me as much as the beautiful fresh colours of the greens and others. (Battye Library, OH 2526, pp. 53, 58)

Rica completed her education in 1925 to Leaving Standard in five subjects at the Eastern Goldfields High School and in her final year was a prefect.



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