Built in 1859 of locally quarried limestone, the old cottage on the property at Wilkadene was the head station of the old Murtho run. It was run by Edward Meade (Ned) Bagot, the owner of the great Ned’s Corner Station who made his fortune bringing cattle down to Adelaide. By 1860 big stockyards had been built here, and Bagot employed George Critchell as boundary rider. He and his family lived here for about twelve years until tragedy struck in 1869 and again in 1871 when their son and two daughters drowned. Their graves, along with that of their father, George (who also drowned) can be found on land adjacent to Wilkadene.
In the drought of 1876 Ned Bagot’s fortunes crashed and he lost his Ned’s Corner station as well as its’ Murtho Run, which subsequently changed hands several times. In 1906 Arthur Wilkinson took over the Murtho head station lease, and moved into the house with his wife Caroline on the day they were married. Arthur and Caroline lived in the old cottage where they raised six children until 1913 when they moved into the newly completed homestead now known as Wilkadene.
Here they raised another four children including a daughter who died in infancy and is buried in the cemetery with the Critchell family. In the same year Arthur’s father, former owner of Lindsay Cliffs station (now known as Kulkurna) moved into his new homestead now known as Murtho Park.
In the early 1900’s the Wilkinson family ran the two properties until Arthur’s death in 1949 when the property was split between the two sons, Bill and Jim. Under the management of Jim Wilkinson, Wilkadene was a thriving wheat and sheep farm. After his tragic death in 1965, his widow Grace, took over the farm duties with distinction until 1988 when it was sold to the Freeman Family.
Although no longer running wheat and sheep, we aim to share the rich history of Wilkadene through our tourism activities to ensure it is not forgotten.