From the early 1900s until 1949 the two properties now known as Wilkadene and Murtho Park respectively formed one large station run by the Wilkinson family. The property was called Murtho Park. When Arthur died in 1949 the property was split up between his two sons, Bill and Jim, (Arthur and Caroline had nine children altogether – two boys and seven girls). Bill took the half which included their grandfather’s house, and retained the name “Murtho Park” while Jim inherited Arthur’s house and named his property “Wilkadene”.
The old section of Wilkadene’s shearing shed, with its white ant resistant native pine posts, was probably the original chaff shed of Murtho Park. The chaff cutter would have stood in the centre and the chaff would have been loaded onto a paddle-steamer by way of a chute from the shed down the cliff to the river. The original shearing shed stands on the current Murtho Park property.
When the property was split up the chaff shed was converted into a shearing shed for the new Wilkadene property, and a new section of holding pens was added. The yards have been demolished in recent years as the property no longer runs sheep, but, under the management of Jim Wilkinson, Wilkadene was a thriving wheat and sheep farm. After Jim’s tragic death in a car accident in 1965, his widow, Grace, took over the farm duties with distinction and particularly loved her sheep, having several pet ones who she would call by name.
Grace was also responsible for Wilkadene’s garden, which was a show-piece in its day and site for numerous community functions and fêtes. It is still a popular spot for weddings. She continued running the farm by herself for twenty three years after Jim’s death, until it was purchased by the Freeman family in 1988.