Jacob's Ladder

Jacobís Ladder is one of those places which has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years.  Being a staircase you can understand why.

View of Perth and the Swan River from the top of Jacob's Ladder. (Prior to physical activity.)

For over 100 years Jacobís 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.

Take it slowly, otherwise your holiday memories will just be a blur.

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 1900ís 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.

The 1909 Staircase.


Original Ladder Early 1900's

Nearly there!  Is that a big tube of toothpaste on my left, or am I just exhausted?

Step By Step Guide.     The Life On Perth 2009 Census of Jacobís Ladder confirmed 242 concrete steps from the top to the bottom.  Surprisingly we counted 242 steps during our 2008 Census of the Ladder. It appears the number of steps does not vary much over the years, but whoís counting?

Back in 1909  our  pioneers  did  it  tough.  The original staircase had 274 jarrah steps, and no offset landings to stop an unfortunate person tumbling straight to the bottom. Did I forget to mention the splinters, and nails protruding from the wood? There was no bottled water to quench a tired thirst, nor the magnificent panorama of the modern city skyline to reward all the effort.


Climbing Tip:  After exhaustive research (and I mean exhaustive), we discovered it was much easier to stride every step on the way down, and every second step on the way up. Itís even easier if you just stay at the top, and enjoy the view.

The original construction fee was only £171/1/0, as the Huck boys had whipped it up on the cheap.  Admittedly the wooden structure was a little rough around the edges, and started to fall apart after the warranty expired.  It was not long before empty Coke bottles, and McDonalds wrappers claimed the base as a fast food graveyard.  Even the local lads refused to take risks on the incline anymore.  After more than 50 years of ups and downs,  the Perth City Council officially closed Jacobís Ladder in 1961.

You can still see the slopes used by our pioneering thrillseekers.

Several years later, and after a few false starts Jacobís Ladder was reconstructed with durable concrete steps. At £7500, it cost considerably more than its predecessor, though it now included 18 landings, and a lookout platform at the top. Today it serves as a shortcut up Mount Eliza, and a challenge to lunchtime office workers wanting to shake off those extra kilos.

A Step Out Of Line.

The original plans opted for a road up Mt Eliza named Tryphena Terrace. Some maps still refer to the path at the ladderís base by this name. In 1964 a railway was discussed to replace the then dilapidated staircase. Fortunately on both occasions the solution was to take one step at a time.

Looking down Jacob's Ladder.

Looking Up.


Looking Down.

             Stairway To Heaven

Cyril Dent's sign to the staircase.

Expensive homes on the top of Mount Eliza.

How Did The Staircase Get Its Name?


Residents who live near the top of Jacobís Ladder enjoy magnificent views over Perth and the Swan River. The real estate has always been very expensive, and today only millionaires need apply. Way back during the construction of the staircase, one local resident likened the hilltop palaces to a slice of Heaven. The idea was not lost on real estate agent Cyril Dent, who erected a sign near the staircase advising, ďThis Way to Jacobís LadderĒ. It was a comical reference to that other great ladder in the Bible. Everybody had a good laugh at the time, and have continued to do so, long after the sign was removed.

An artists depiction of the Biblical Jacob's Ladder.



The Biblical Jacob's Ladder is described in the Book of Genesis.  The ladder was situated on Earth and reached all the way to Heaven.


 Step Aerobics


In the Book of Genesis (28:11-19) the angels of God were seen ascending and descending Jacobís Ladder. Today heavenly bodies still make a daily pilgrimage up and down Perthís Jacobís Ladder, though they now wear tight lycra shorts, and top end Nikes. Hundreds of fitness fanatics exercise every morning, creating healthy traffic congestion on the steps. Some are training for triathlons, and others have even gone on to climb Mount Everest. These guys take it seriously, so always stick to the left, and let them do all the passing.  With physiques to put mere mortals to shame, it is sometimes better to act like a tourist when visiting the staircase. You can then be excused for stopping at each landing, though please donít ask for directions.

Getting ready to wake up the local residents.


Professional stair climbers preparing to wake up the local residents.


Get you lazy #@*^ out of bed now!

                DID YOU KNOW?

Residents who live at the top of Jacob's Ladder no longer require alarm clocks.  They can now rely on grunting athletes, and screaming boot camp style personal trainers.  Nothing quite beats a stranger yelling outside your bedroom window at 6:00am.  The trainers say it's all about being fit.  The residents certainly wake up in one.   The trainers have been politely informed  that  they'll  have to tone down their voices, if they wish to tone up their bodies.  Fortunately no one has complained about noisy camera shutters, and exhausted tourists.





If you explore the base of the staircase, you can rediscover the Lost Step of Jacob's Ladder.  The number of steps between each landing is either seven or seventeen.  The only exception is the first sequence, which contains an out of character sixteen steps.  Step number one has been encased in the bitumen of the pathway which leads up to the staircase.   It has lost its proper place in the staircase, which technically has 243 steps!  Check it out, though we think the view at the top is much more interesting.

The Lost Step.

LOCATION: The steep drop at the end of Cliff Street, West Perth.

Despite forwarding an exciting screenplay to
Steven Spielberg, he strangely never produced,
Indiana Jones and The Lost Step Of Jacob's Ladder.


The Da Jacob Code:  16-17-17-17-7-7-17-17-7-7-17-17-7-7-17-17-7-7-17  (Steps between landings from base)


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