Eric Wilksch grew up in the Barossa Valley of South Australia where the family orchard and vineyard shaped his early values. During World War II, Eric served with the RAAF as a wireless/electrical engineer in Darwin and Borneo. He married Violet Mary Wolfe of North Sydney in 1944 and following Eric’s demobilisation, the couple set about building their home Barossa in Market Street, Naremburn. Eric obtained a position with NSW Department of Agriculture, but was soon seconded to the Commonwealth Quarantine Service where he served as an inspector for exports and imports shipped through the Port of Sydney.
Eric was an avid collector of antiques, particularly trade tools, picking up objects through savaging at the Flat Rock Tip and at various garage sales around the municipality. He donated most of his collection to the museum and it forms the basis of the large collection of trade tools. He also donated a number of items he made from shell casings and similar objects during his war service in Borneo.