Chippers Leap

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Approach to Chippers Leap in 2006

Chippers Leap, formerly known as Chipper's Leap, is a granite outcrop on Greenmount Hill in Perth, Western Australia. It is located at 31º54'S 116º04'E,[1] on the northern side of Great Eastern Highway, near the border between the suburbs of Swan View and Greenmount.

Chippers Leap is named for John Chipper,[2][3] who jumped from the rock on 3 February 1832 while trying to escape an attack by a party of Noongars. Chipper and a 14-year-old boy named Reuben Beacham had been driving a cart from Guildford to York along the York Road (now Old York Road) when they were attacked by Noongars. Beacham was killed and Chipper was speared but managed to escape, jumping from the rock and eventually reaching Governor James Stirling's house at Woodbridge.

In the early 1930s the Main Roads Board planned a realignment of the York Road that ultimately resulted in the construction of the present Great Eastern Highway. The original plans had the road passing through Chippers Leap.[4] After representations by the Western Australian Historical Society, the plans were changed to allow the road to pass close by the rock, thus not only preserving the rock but also increasing its visual effect and exposure. The road itself was not constructed until the 1960s.[5][6]

Chippers leap in 2012
The plaque at Chippers Leap

At 8:30pm on 3 February 1932, the centenary of Chipper's leap, the Western Australian Historical Society dedicated a plaque in memory of the event. Around 200 people attended a dedication ceremony at the rock. The plaque reads:

ON THE 3RD OF FEBRUARY 1832. JOHN CHIPPER AND REUBEN BEACHAM A BOY OF FOURTEEN, WHILE DRIVING A CART FROM GUILDFORD TO YORK, WERE ATTACKED BY NATIVES NEAR THIS SPOT. BEACHAM WAS KILLED BUT CHIPPER ALTHOUGH SPEARED, ESCAPED AND LEAPED FROM THIS ROCK, NOW KNOWN AS CHIPPER'S LEAP, AND EVENTUALLY REACHED GOVERNOR STIRLING'S HOUSE AT WOODBRIDGE[7]

For most of the 1960s through to the 1980s the rock face just west of the plaque featured an item of graffiti in white paint, reading "All have sinned" Towards the end of the 1990s it was replaced for a short time by "Please Turn Over". For at least the last ten years now it has been painted out and graffiti free.

The plaque is adjacent to a very busy highway with no facilities for pedestrians, so it is not recommended as a stopping place at any time of day or night. A small section of parking area on the highway is available 100 metres to the west, just before a new sign "Perth Hills'.

It is listed on the Places Database of the Heritage Council of Western Australia, but is not afforded legislative protection.

There are plaques at other sites from the same year placed by the Western Australian Historical Society, one can be found at the Round House in Fremantle

There are similar granite outcrops in this area of the Darling Scarp in John Forrest National Park to the north, and to the south Darlington, and Boya, Western Australia

The rock from the south - from the highway

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Chippers Leap". Gazetteer of Australia. Geoscience Australia. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-10. 
  2. ^ http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/chipper-donald-john-5584
  3. ^ http://trove.nla.gov.au/people/1469754?q=john+chipper&c=people
  4. ^ "CHIPPER'S LEAP: An Historic al Sight Endangered.". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 20 February 1930. p. 7 Supplement: PICTORIAL SECTION. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "CHIPPER'S LEAP.". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 7 August 1930. p. 3. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  6. ^ de Mouncey, P. E. C. (1931). "Chipper's Leap". Journal and Proceedings of the Western Australian Historical Society. 1 (10). 
  7. ^ Western Australian Historical Society (1932). Plaque, Chippers Leap.

Coordinates: 31°54′S 116°04′E / 31.900°S 116.067°E / -31.900; 116.067