Once a prosperous sheep station, Pikedale Station was established in 1843 by a Captain Pike. It had many owners until 1919 when it was purchased by James Rogerson in whose family it remained until 1957.
It was during the this period many outbuildings were added along with substantial rabbit proof fencing on the 20,000 acre Station.
In 1958, the majestic 54 roomed Pikedale Homestead was destroyed by fire. It had been visited by members of the English Royal Family, Governors and other distinguished visitors. The home was one of Queensland’s grandest in its day.
This story by Kevin Meade appeared in “The Australian” on 5 Monday 12th June 2006
“In the crisp air of southeast Queensland’s high country, the memories come flooding back as 74 year old Mary Rogerson ambles amid the ruins of the once-grand PIKEDALE STATION.
She recalls how her grandfather, Arthur Charles Fitzroy Rogerson, or “AFC” as everyone knew him, cut a distinguished but somewhat eccentric figure when he owned the 17,000ha sheep station in the 1930 and 40s.
“He was ramrod straight” Ms Rogerson says, trampling through knee-high grass where a spending garden once grew.
“In the sheep yards he would always wear a waistcoat and tie, even when he was riding a horse, or drenching the sheep.”
PIKEDALE, 30km west of Stanthorpe in the state’s southeast, was established in 1843. In its heyday it was more like a small town than a sheep station, with a school, general store, blacksmith’s shop, garage, workers’ quarters and maintenance workshops.
The Rogersons lived in an ornate, two-storey homestead, but it burned down in 1958 after they sold the property to Broome pearl millionaire Harold Rubin.
AFC’s eccentricities were mild compared with those of Rubin, who married five times, collected stuffed budgies and sparrows and founded the Queensland chapter of the International Goldfish Club, a charity organisation whose membership was restricted to people prepared to swallow a live goldfish. PIKEDALE fell to ruin after the homestead burned down. It is now a ramshackle but fascinating collection of historic buildings.
Across Australia, priceless relics of the nation’s bush heritage are falling to pieces and fading away. PIKEDALE, where about a dozen buildings are still standing but in various stages of disrepair, is a classic example.
Aud Thompson, an 80-year old Stanthorpe farmer whose parents worked on PIKEDALE STATION in its glory days, said it was a “crying shame” that such an important symbol of the district’s heritage had been left to rot. “The whole place should have been fixed up long ago,” he said.
PIKEDALE is now owned by Rick Goodrich, who runs cattle there but lives on a property 20km away. Mr Goodrich, whose family settled in the district around the same time as PIKEDALE’s founders, is aware of the property’s historical importance and would like to see the buildings preserved.
“I’d like to do something about it but I just can’t afford it,” he said. “But my dream is to eventually moved to PIKEDALE, fix up the old buildings and build a new homestead there.”
A spokeswoman for Queensland Environment and Heritage Minister Desley Boyle said that unless they were heritage-listed, there was no government funding available for the preservation of historic buildings on rural properties.”