Wilpena Pound, one of the best known features in the Flinders Ranges, was discovered in 1850 by William Chace while employed by the Browne Brothers. It was surveyed by Frederick Sinnett in 1851 and the lease, one of the very first to be issued, was taken up that year by the Browne Brothers. The station was established by their partner, twenty-five year old Henry Strong Price. Born on 8 May 1825 Price arrived in South Australia in 1842. It was he who decided to build the homestead and station headquarters near the Wilpena Creek which drains the Pound. He could not have picked a better or more scenic location.
Price relinquished the partnership in 1853 and his place was taken by George Marchant. However in 1861 Price paid £40,000 for the station and became sole owner and manager of Wilpena Station. By that time it had more than 17,000 sheep, and 5,000 cattle. Three years later the total area of the station was some 2,000 square kilometres and carried more than 33,000 sheep but only about 4,000 cattle. After the great drought of the mid 1860s, 'when not one green thing was left alive', he had only about 1,000 sheep left and no cattle. Price employed C.B. Powell as manager who built hundreds of kilometres of fences which resulted in a much better use of the land.
During the late 1850s and early 1860s James Clarke was employed as overseer. He and his wife Mary, nee Warren, had several children during that time. On 28 December 1858 Caroline Maria was born followed on 11 March 1860 by William John. They had another son, Charles Edward on 6 February 1862 and James Warren on 10 July 1863. Their last son born at Wilpena was Walter Cowdroy on 10 March 1865.
Peter Matthews, employed as a labourer and his wife Margaret, nee Hood had a son on 1 February 1864. Edmund Kirwan, who ran the station's store and his wife Ellen Agnes, nee Lennon, also had a son named Edwin on 22 October 1864.
After Price's death, on 30 November 1889, the station was auctioned as four separate leases. The Pound went to August Helling, who held it until 1894. The other three went to the Browne Brothers. John Maslin took on these leases on 30 July 1891.
In 1899 the Hill family from Hawker took out a lease over the Pound, cleared the land and started growing wheat. Five years later they built a small cottage where they lived until 1914 when they were forced out, not by drought......but floods!
Realising that Wilpena Station is one of the most significant pastoral sites in South Australia, the old station is being developed by the National Parks and Wildlife of South Australia to provide a rich cultural experience using the buildings and landscape to interpret the pastoral heritage of the Flinders Ranges. Since 1995 the Friends of the Flinders Ranges National Park have funded and undertaken restoration projects which included the stables, store, homestead cellar and fencing.
The station was added to the South Australian State Heritage Register on 20 November 1986 and is also listed on the Register of the National Estate.