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New Rueben Beacham Plaque Unveiled

Chipper’s Leap is a granite outcrop on Greenmount Hill located on the northern side of Great Eastern Highway, near the locality boundary between of Swan View and Greenmount.

 

Chippers Leap is named for John Chipper, who jumped from the rock on 3 February 1832 while trying to escape an attack by a party of local Noongars. Chipper and a 11-year-old boy named Reuben Beacham had been driving a cart from Guildford to York along the York Road (now the 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. After representations by the Royal 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.

 

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. Unfortunately the situation of the plaque on the very busy Great Eastern Hwy, is not a safe place to stop and view.


Original Plaque

Rueben's family installed a new plaque on the Old York Road on 21st May 2024. They felt the need to correct Rueben's age which was 11 at the time of the incident, not 14 as the original plaque states. There were a few other anomilies which they felt needed clarifying.

This was the article written on the 7th June about the unveiling of the most recent plaque


The article below was published in an earlier newspaper


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