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It was at Bolgart through a mutual love of tennis and other sports that Rica was to meet her future husband. Sydney Uden Erickson (1908-1987) was also born on the Goldfields (Broad Arrow) and moved to East Fremantle when he was eight years old. He attended Narrogin Agricultural School and then gained considerable farming experience on properties at Katanning, Bindoon and Morawa and was share farming in Bolgart when he met Rica. After playing tennis, they would play card games and share meals with other local families. Rica and Sydney were married in the Methodist Church in Fremantle in June 1936, and Rica retired from teaching.


In 1938 they purchased an uncleared portion of the Gripthorpe property at Bolgart from the AMP Society. The Ericksons named their property 'Fairlea' because as it was a fair property at a fair price, located on a rolling landscape like a lea. They cleared the land with the help of Italian migrants working in the district and then commenced mixed cropping (wheat, barley, oats, sub-clover and rye grass) and running sheep.

The couple had four children between 1939 and 1943: Dorothy (1939), John (1940), Bethel (1942), and Robin (1943).


The war years brought not only the joy of her new family and building a home for Rica, but also the distress of her brother, Clive Sandilands, being held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese.

I had a young brother who had volunteered to go in the Air Force and before he was trained into it, he had a sickness which disqualified him. Then he went into the Army and was one of those that went into Timor, and was captured by the Japanese which was a terrible blow for us, because we were hearing about when the Japanese took over; the atrocities were coming through. We were allowed through the Red Cross to send a kind of a lettergram, you might call it. We were limited to the number of words practically, and we were told that if there was an avalanche of letters going to one particular person, that they'd be culled out and they'd only receive one or so. So we made sure that my mother and father had used their regular supply, and the rest of us put our letters in. We tried to make cryptic messages so that they were a sort of sign that things were going on all right here, such as: 'Dad has just bought a new tractor,' or else I'd say something about my children doing this, that or the other, so they would know a little. We learnt afterwards when he came back that he received quite a number of our cards and that they were a great morale booster. (Battye Library, OH 2526, p.95)


While her children were small, their wellbeing and education were Rica's first priority. She also devoted herself to working on the farm and community and sporting activities, which included membership of the Bolgart Tennis Club, Hockey Club and Golf Club.



Her extensive community involvement included the Parents & Citizens Association, the Progress Association, Red Cross, Country Women's Association, as an adult adviser to Junior Farmers, the Historical Society, and on committees for the Adult Education Box Scheme and for the Toodyay Gaol Museum. She still, however, made time to instil in her family a love of the bush.

Whenever I went out bush and before they went to school, we used to go on walks out in the bush. I got them used to the bush that they were allowed to travel in, but there were certain areas around Bolgart which were delightful, about three miles or more from our place, on the top of a hill where the road went up and over. If you walked off the road you went into a patch of bush that was never cleared because it was so rocky. You'd find little rockholes filled with moss and other little things that grew in them, particularly my trigger plants, the tiny ones, the ephemeral trigger plants; the ones that come away the same time as moss comes green again. We used to go and have our picnics there whenever we could find the time to take the whole lot of them together. (Battye Library, OH 2526, p. 117)



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