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History






Heritage Perth's Richard Offen said the stairway, known as Jacob's Ladder, was built because it was cheaper than building a road to link the areas. "As early as 1905 people living near the top of Mount Street and Cliff Street began to campaign for a connection to the riverbank at the foot of Mount Eliza," he said.








The tales





Jacob's Ladder: Perth's stairway to a sweaty heaven

The twisting staircase linking the north-east corner of King's Park with the river below is a firm favourite with Perth exercisers and holds an insight into the past.

Heritage Perth's Richard Offen said the stairway, known as Jacob's Ladder, was built because it was cheaper than building a road to link the areas.

"As early as 1905 people living near the top of Mount Street and Cliff Street began to campaign for a connection to the riverbank at the foot of Mount Eliza," he said.

"Their original demand was for a road, but given the steep incline, it was decided it would be much cheaper to build some steps."

In 1909 a straight staircase of 274 jarrah steps was built for the price of £171.

It was initially known as the Cliff Street Stairway but acquired a new name early on thanks to a local real estate agent.

Jacob's Ladder referred to the staircase to heaven dreamed of by Jacob in Bible Old Testament, which allowed angels of God to travel between heaven and earth.

"According to local legend, in the early years of development around the periphery of King's Park, the houses perched on the top of Cliff Street were considered to be among the best in the city, because of the stunning views of the river," Mr Offen said.

"This seems to have inspired a local real estate agent, Cyril Dent, to place a sign near the base of the newly-constructed staircase announcing, 'This way to Jacob's Ladder'."


The views from the top of Jacob's Ladder across Perth.(720 ABC Perth: Emma Wynne)

The ladder quickly became a popular place for play, with many boys using iron sheets to slide down the sandy tracks on either side of the new staircase.

Life on Perth website's history of the ladder states that "those lucky enough finished their rides unscathed in the Chinese market garden at the bottom".

"Others became entangled in the council installed barbed wire, and walked away more shredded than the cabbages that were intended to soften their landing," the website stated.

By 1961 the Perth City Council decided the rundown wooden stairs were no longer safe and closed the ladder.



The current staircase was built by the local council in the 1960s out of concrete, replacing the old jarrah stairs.(720 ABC Perth: Emma Wynne)

"This move met with public opposition and consideration, albeit briefly, was given to building a light railway up the hill, but as soon as they saw the cost the council decided not to do it," Mr Offen said.

"They decided to build a new staircase which cost £7,500 and that is the concrete staircase we know today, which is in a spiral formation."

While the market gardens are long gone, Jacob's Ladder is a popular place for exercise, and busy with people running up and down the 242 steps.

To reduce noise for people who live nearby, council has disallowed organised exercise classes from using the ladder and surrounding area in the evenings and early morning.



More tales


For over 100 years Jacob’s Ladder has been exhausting both locals and tourists as they take on the challenge of walking up the side of Mount Eliza. Sure it may look easy, but remember to enjoy the panoramic view of Perth and the Swan River before embarking on the climb.


A brisk walk up the stairs may at first generate a somewhat distorted view of Perth. Take it slowly, otherwise your holiday memories will just be a blur.


The Original Ladder - A Step Back In Time.

In 1909 Joseph Huck and Sons, constructed the staircase based on plans provided by the Perth City Engineer, Mr Henry Payne. The staircase needed 274 jarrah steps to descend 46 metres down Mount Eliza. Not having to worry about an environmental impact study, a sandy track was cleared down each side of the staircase for building access.

 Local lads were soon sliding down the steep slopes on iron sheets, for the ultimate early 1900’s thrill ride. Those lucky enough, finished their rides unscathed in the Chinese market garden at the bottom. Others became entangled in the council installed barbed wire, and walked away more shredded than the cabbages that were intended to soften their landing









Mounts Bay Rd


Mounts Bay Road is a major road in Perth 4.8km winding along the Swan river connecting East to Perth CBD and West to Nedlands onto Stirling Highway
the road is below Kings Park 

the course served as a major traffic route passing the Brewery and Crawley Baths with Tram and then cars and continues today as high volume transport 



North East end  - today on the left are buildings Hospital and on the right is reclaimed land for freeway and John Oldham Park





Mounts Bay Road is named after Mounts Bay, the body of water in the Swan River Estuary that was infilled for the construction of the Narrows Interchange, and the road follows the boundary of the bay at the Narrows.

It was, during the era of trams in Perth, a notable location of tram derailment














The place contains, albeit partially demolished, the finest connected group of late-Victorian and early 20th-century brewery buildings in Australia in a red brick and tile Federation style idiom.




















Related topics



Nearby 

1500m S.West along the river History Crawley Baths in Matilda Bay





 








what we do 

Our Project: 

as we map places and create tourist info page we may also create a page on history

the history pages are slow to compile as it is not our priority, we welcome contributions

 







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