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. 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 with their enthusiasm curbed...
The original construction fee was only £171/1/0. After more than 50 years of ups and downs, the Perth City Council officially closed Jacob’s Ladder in 1961. Several years later, and after a few false starts Jacob’s 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.
Residents who live near the top of Jacob’s 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, “This Way to Jacob’s Ladder”. 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.
The Biblical Jacob's Ladder is described in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 28:10-19). The ladder was situated on Earth and reached all the way to Heaven.
This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.