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LIFE IN PERTH (1965 - 2001)

Syd and Rica retired from farming when his back could no longer cope with the heavy work involved and the property passed on to their son John. After an extended trip to Europe the couple moved to Nedlands in 1965, a suburb of Perth, where they built their new home.

For myself I was very happy. Although we are both people who are happiest in the wide open spaces of farms, and even the desert, we found travelling was easy, and we did do quite a bit of travelling. But for myself I found it was good because although I was away from my birds and my bush plants, I was near the Battye Library, and also I was within easy distance of the Naturalists' Club Hall and the [Royal Western Australian] Historical Society Hall, and the university. I found that all my interest could be catered for in a writing field instead of an observing field. (Battye Library, OH 2526, p. 137)

At Bolgart, Rica had spent much of her time researching the history of the district and the move to Perth allowed her the opportunity to write and publish this material. The Drummonds of Hawthornden was published in 1969 followed by the Victoria Plains in 1971, Old Toodyay and Newcastle in 1974, The Dempsters in 1978, The Brand on his Coat in 1983, The Bride Ships in 1992 and The Misfortunes of Phoebe in 1997. While working on projects with other historians, Rica was also gaining a reputation as an expert in the field of genealogy which culminated in the publication of The Dictionary of Western Australians 1829-1914 in 1979 and The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians pre 1829-1888 in 1988.

In 1983 the Ericksons sold their home and moved to the Salvation Army Retirement Village in Nedlands. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1986, but Syd died suddenly the following year. In 2001, aged 93, Rica continued to live in her own home, enjoying her extended family, and still researching, writing, publishing and painting.


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