Western Australia’s unique flora and fauna have long been a source of interest to a range of naturalists, locals and visitors alike. One of the most notable naturalists to live and work in Western Australia is Rica Erickson who was born in Boulder in 1908 and has spent most of her life studying and writing about her state’s orchids, plants, insects and birds.
In A Naturalist’s Life she shares a first person account of those studies, carried out both in her own backyard – a farming property in rural Bolgart – and around the rest of Australia, though her true passion was for Western Australian animals and plants.
Not really an autobiography, the focus is on Erickson’s work as a naturalist, against the background of her life as teacher, mother and wife. Several of the chapters are reprints of Erickson’s previous work – including articles from newspapers and journals, and brochures.
For anyone with an interest in Erickson’s work, this is an enlightening insight. It will also appeal to those with an interest in wildflowers and wildlife, or in Western Australian history. For this reviewer, a family link to the Bolgart district made the text especially relevant.
A Naturalist’s Life, by Rica Erickson
UWA Press for the Charles and Joy Staples South West Regions Publication Fund, 2005