Technically not in King’s Park, Jacob’s Ladder is a series of concrete stairs which run up the side of Mt Eliza connecting Mounts Bay Road to the entrance of the park.
History of Jacob’s Ladder
When Jacob’s Ladder was first constructed by Joseph Huck and Sons in 1909, the staircase consisted of 274 jarrah steps going straight up from Mounts Bay Road to Cliff Street. They were later replaced by the terribly uninspiring 243 concrete ones. In those days there was a Chinese garden market near the base of the stairs.
Sometime during the wooden stair stage there use to be a turnstile at the top. People would often drag their bicycles up the 46m incline to Kings Park, constantly fearful the whole structure would come crashing down.
In 1961 the Perth City Council decided that the rickety old stairs were no longer safe and closed it. A few years later, when the public began missing the sneaky short cut from Mounts Bay Road to Cliff Street, they considered placing a small railway up the side of Mt Eliza. This idea was soon abandoned and instead they opted for a new and improved version of the stairs, this time using concrete. The structure cost a whopping £7500.
Story Behind The Naming of Jacob’s Ladder
So how did the stairs get its name? The story goes something like this. Even in the early years the houses perched on the top of Cliff Street were considered the grandest in Perth, as they boasted the most magnificent views of the Swan River and city. This inspired a local real estate agent, Cyril Dent, to place a sign near the base of the newly constructed stairs reading “This way to Jacob’s Ladder.” Jacob’s Ladder being a biblical reference to the staircase that went from Earth all the way to Heaven. Though I am sure some people believe THIS Jacob’s ladder goes from Earth all the well to Hell! It is a strenuous climb.
In 2010 the ladder suffered structural damage after a terrible hail storm hit Perth. During the massive deluge a torrent of water cut a pathway through the hillside taking tonnes of sand with it. The sand ended up in the first floor apartments at the bottom of Ladder. The Ladder itself was deemed unsafe and was closed for months. Many regulars feared the council would close the ladder for good. After much TV, radio and press attention, the Perth City Council agreed to restore Jacob’s back to its much loved condition….ugly but safe!