Steps and Stairs

Before the advent of motor transport, the majority of people walked from place to place so it is not surprising that there are some 14 sets of finely crafted stone stairs in the inner Sydney area which give access up and over the high ridges which surround Sydney Cove, with many more to be found in and around the city's older suburbs. The inner city pedestrial network of lanes and stairs made of local sandstone wasn't planned, it just grew out of the need to get from one part of town to snother as quickly as possible. Motorised transport has not made these lanes and stairs obsolete and using them is still the quickest way to get around.

The stonemasons
The people who extracted the rock from the ground were the quarrymen, those who fashioned it for use in building and road construction were the stonemasons. Stonemasonry is one of the earliest trades in the history of civilisation. Ancient civilisations relied heavily on the stonemason to build their most impressive and enduring cultural monuments. The Egyptians built their pyramids, the civilisations of Central American created step pyramids, the Persians their palaces, the Greeks their temples, and the Romans their public works and wonders. The Renaissance saw stonemasonry return to the prominence and sophistication of the Classical age.

When Europeans settlers spread to other continents they brought the stonemasonry techniques of their respective homelands with them. In the first waves, building mimicked that of Europe, to eventually be replaced by unique architecture later on. Settlers used what materials were available, and in Sydney, stone was the natural material of choice. They found in the yellow Hawkesbury sandstone of the Sydney basin the ideal material from which to build the city. It was of a high quality, easy to work and in such plentious supply, the buildings colonial Sydney were literally hewn from the city's bedrock. In the first 100 years of its settlement, Sydney yielded 4.5 million tons of sandstone for walls, gutters, homes, buildings, churches, gateposts and cathedrals.

During that time, stonemasonry saw its most radical changes in the way work was accomplished. Prior to the 1850's, most heavy work was carried out with the aid of draft animals or hired labour. The arrival of steam power and subsequently the internal combustion engine meant that many of the harder aspects of the trade were simplified but the Master Mason's skill and ability to carve and shape stone remains substantially unchanged.

Interval training
Today, stairs are not just used for getting from A to B, but also as part of a popular fitness regime. Running up and down stairs is known as interval training. It's a full body workout and is especially great for building up leg muscles and enhancing cardiovascular fitness. The level of intensity is purely up to you. There is an added bonus if you train on stairs in a picturesque locality, such as around the harbour or near the ocean. You can run the stairs one time or three times and when you need to catch your breath you can do so whilst admiring the view.

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Inner City Steps and Stairs
Argyle Stairs

The oldest surviving steps in The Rocks, and in Australia for that matter, are Argyle Stairs at The Rocks. They were cut into the cliff face to a height of 9 metres when the Argyle Cut was widened, giving access from The Rocks to Miller's Point and Bunker's Hill. They replaced an early wooden set of stairs. Bunker's Hill was a high class residential area which sprang up along the top of the ridge which disappeared with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge's southern approaches. Argyle Stairs today give access to the walking above Circular Quay on the Cahill Expressway, and onto the walkway across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Cumberland Place

Cumberland Place, comprising a series of flights of steps and landings, is one of the oldest known pedestrian streets in The Rocks, and probably Australia, being continuously in use since at least 1808 when it was part of Cribbs Lane. The laneway may have existed earlier as a walking track, however its recorded history begins when convict butcher, George Cribb, purchased a house in 1809 that lay along the alignment of the laneway. By 1825, similar through lanes (e.g. Longs Lane), were well established, and their names recorded on contemporary maps. These maps indicate that the steps and landings that make climbing its steep grade easier were built between 1865 and 1887. The lane's name was changed in 1896 by the Sydney City Council. It is thought that significant archaeological relics may survive under the step's protective layers of concrete and asphalt.

Bethel Steps
Bethel Steps are located near the waterfront of West Circular Quay. The land the steps are built on was at the northern end of the Government Dockyard site, constructed on land set aside in 1797 for the residence of the Master Boat Builder, Thomas Moore, which was later converted to the Naval Office, the headquarters for the imposition of Customs. By 1854, a Dead House or Morgue was built on the site, at the request of the then City Coroner, John Brenan. In 1863, Bethel Street was built as a response to the proposed building of the Sailors Home. Bethel Street was closed in 1906 and was reduced to a narrow lane running along the wall of the Mariners' Church to accommodate the expansion of the Morgue buildings.

Agar Steps

The work of City Engineer Edward Bell, Agar Steps were built in the 1870 to provide a link between Kent Street and Observatory Hill. Their name recalls Thomas Agars, an identity of The Rocks area, who arrived in the colony in 1829. Today they are still flanked by a quaint row of terraces which climb the hillside. They overlook the old Kent Street quarry site, which provided the sandstone for many of the colonial buildings in The Rocks and Millers Point.

High Steps

Further along the ridge are High Steps, Windmill Steps and Hickson Steps, all linking Hickson Road at various points around the perimeter of the peninsula with the ridge on which The Rocks and Millers Point was built. The three sets of steps were built in the early years of the 20th Century as part of the redevelopment of the Walsh Bay wharves at that time by the Harbour Trust.

Part of the redevelopment included the creation of High Street along the top of the ridge facing Darling Harbour and the erection of flats along it to house the wharf workers. The flats occupied the site of the old Kent Street quarry at the foot of Agar Steps. A platform was carved into the exposed bedrock, making a new urban terrace, a 'high street', with an arresting V-shaped form that pitched symmetrically to a point on the axis of the Observatory dome, where the trust built a kindergarten and playground.

The quarried stone was used to reclaim a 30-metre-wide street, Hickson Road, along the harbour edge below. A bridge connected High Street to the wharves, allowing the workers to walk to work without having to cross Hickson Road. High Steps were built at the southern end of High Street where they lined up with Agar Steps, the right-angled section of High Street linking the two.

High Street, 1950

Windmill Steps

Windmill Steps, built where the northern end of Kent Street and Windmill Street, Millers Point, meet, recall the time when the ridge above The Rocks was known as Windmill Hill, as it was the site of New South Wales' first windmill, built in early 1797. The mill tower was built of stone, the machinery and grindstone imported from England. It was the first of many that would line the ridge and be used to grind grain into flour and was one of the colony's first steps towards self-sufficiency.

Windmill Steps were built as an accessway betwen the workers' houses on the escarpment on Windmill, Kent and Argyle Street and the geographical Millers Point. In the late 19th century the Point became a hive of maritime activity centred around the activities of merchants like Robert Towns (1794-1873), who operated a whaling and shipping business from this street. Towns was the founder of the Queensland city of Townsville, which is also named after him. Towns traded from the 1850s from premises in Towns Place which included stone warehouses, a wharf and slipway.

Towns' next door neighbour was Captain Joseph Moore, whose storehouse - Moore's Stores - survives today. This fine sandstone building, erected in 1840, was built of locally quarried sandstone and used from 1840 by Captain Joseph Moore to conduct his import and export business. Moore and his son established an agency for the P&O shipping line. Its mail steamer, the SS Chusan, berthed at Moore's Wharf in 1852, commencing a service that began a tradition of carriage of the Royal Mail which continued for over a century.

Corner of Ferry Lane (left) and Pottinger Street, Millers Point

At the eastern end of Windmill Street, at the corner of Lower Fort Street, is another accessway down from the escarpment to the shoreline of Walsh Bay. The slope down at this end of Windmill Street is not as steep as the Kent Street end, so a laneway with a few steps to handle the grade was created, rather than stairs sufficed. Ferry Lane had its five minutes of fame on Australia Day (January 26) 1900, when the sewerage system of the home of one Arthur Payne of No. 10 Ferry Lane was isolated as the source of the Bubonic Plague sweeping through The Rocks. Payne, who worked as a driver on the Walsh Bay wharves, his family and neighbours were rushed to the Quarantine Station and most of the timber buildings in the vicinity were burned to the ground.

The North Shore ferry from Walsh Bay to Blues Point began operating in 1848 and it was around that time that this narrow laneway came into existence. Serving as the main thoroughfare from The Rocks and Millers Point to the ferry wharf at Walsh Bay, Ferry Lane was surfaced with cobblestones brought as ballast on ships out from England. The lane was soon lined with tiny cottages, some wooden, some stone, built almost on top of each other up the hillside.

Ferry Lane

Ferry Lane was all but abandoned during the Bubonic Plague, its wooden houses burnt down and stone cottages left as burnt out shells as residents were evacuated and the area fumigated. The Walsh Bay end of the lane disappeared completely in 1908 when the foreshore was extensively excavated to make room for Hickson Road, the new wharves and the associated buildings it would service. Ferry Lane now stopped at Davis Street which in 1905 had its name changed to Downshire Street.

In 1914, the remaining houses in the middle section of Ferry Lane were demolished including Payne's tiny cottage at No. 10 and its neighbour, No. 8. The site was cleared and flattened to the level of Downshire Street and a grassed area created. It became known as The Paddock and the local children have played here ever since, even to the present day. When a block of units was erected to the east of Ferry Lane a few years ago, the lower end of the lane was re-modelled and a feature made of the foundation stones of Numbers 8 and 10 Ferry Lane (below) which were found intact under a pile of rubble during the restoration work.

Hickson Steps

Hickson Steps are located close to Pier One in the shadow of the southern Harbour Bridge aproaches. The steps link Fort Street to Hickson Road. They were created in the first decade of the 20th century. The name honours Robert Hickson, who was Chairman of the Sydney Harbour Trust between 1901-12 when the whole Millers Point wharf area was redeveloped and present day roads and walkways in the area, including Hickson Steps, were created.

Originally a path led down the hill from what is now the top of the Steps to wharves on the foreshore in the vicinity of what today is the gap between Piers One and Two. When the land behind Pier One was excavated and flattened to just above water level, Hickson Steps were built at the southern end of the quarry site as a replacement for the walking path.
Moores Stairs

Moores Stairs, which honour Charles Moore, Mayor 1861-1868, were built in 1861 and link Circular Quay East to Macquarie Street. Further around Bennelong Point behind the Opera House, a flight of stairs lead to Government House and the Royal Botanical Gardens via a footpath known as the Tarpeian Way. The pathway and steps give a different view of the Opera House than is generally seen. Further to the east on Mrs. Macquarie's Point, a hand hewn flight of sandstone steps curve gracefully up from the shoreline to Mrs. Macquarie's Chair.

First Fleet Stairs

The Fleet Steps, facing Farm Cove, link Farm Cove to Mrs Macquarie Road. The steps are named after the Great White Fleet of the US Navy, and was built for the visit of that fleet to Sydney in 1908. It is the point where Queen Elizabeth II first set foot on Australian soil in 1954, and a commemorative wall plaque marks the event. The base of the steps is often used for large marquee functions with stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The name of the steps recalls the fact that the convicts transported to New South Wales with the First Fleet came ashore in the vicinity in January 1788.

The Steps to Nowhere

High above street level and clinging to the rockface that lines Hickson Road around Millers Point is a sequence of stairs to nowhere, with the entrance and exit long bricked-up. There s no way in, there s no way out. It just sits there embedded in the sandstone. The base has been bricked in in such way as to ensure no-one can climb into the section in the middle, which presumably would ve taken too much brick to warrant fully enclosing.

Hickson Road was cut out of the sandstone of Millers Point to provide a link between the wharves on Walsh Bay and those being built at Darling Harbour. It required the excavation and creation of a sheer cliff face which curves right round the contours of Millers Point, all the way to the Harbour Bridge. The stairs cling to this extraordinary sandstone wall and lead up towards the deck of one of a number of bridges built across Hickson Road. A photo taken in 1911 shows the wall and the bridge being built, the cavity in the sandstone cliff face where the steps would be added later is clearly visible. The stairs as they exist today end some 4 metres below the bridge deck, meaning it would never have been possible to reach the upper road level from the stairs in their present state. A close examination of the underside of the bridge reveals the cut of the rock beneath the bridge points to the bridge having been widened in the 1950s, as the photo below confirms. Widening the bridge would have involved cutting into the cavity for the stairs. For the stairs to remain functional, they would have to have been moved further east so that they extended beyond the cavity (the cavity today is much shorter than it was in the earliest photos).

Part of the rock face beyond the cavity above the bricked-in area has a cut line, but the rock below the line has not all been removed. This, and the steps falling short of the roadway above, indicates that the project was abandoned midway through. Perhaps the rock beyond the cavity was found to be unstable, leading to the stairs being abandoned totally before the modifications had been completed. In 2010, someone with a sense of humour planted a few palms on the abandoned steps, strung up rope in the shape of a spider s web and placed a big black spider on it. A hand painted sign read Guerilla Gardens .

Queen Victoria Building's Grand Staircase

The Queen Victoria Building's Grand Staircase is recognised internationally as one of the top 10 Grand Staircases in the world. This building, now affectionately known as the QVB, was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets on the site.

Queen Victoria Building was built as a monument to the long reigning monarch, construction took place in dire times, as Sydney was in a severe recession. The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen  stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists during a time of economic recession.

Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve in Millers Point is the newest kid on the block when it comes to inner city stairs. Being only a few years old and located in the city's newest recreational reseve, they were clearly not designed to take the people of yesteryear between the upper and lower parts of the city centre.

One suspects that they were created for stair runs, a high-intensity workout that builds muscle power, burns calories and increases your oxygen intake - the perfect fix for those looking to up their fitness level fast. Barangaroo Reserve has three sets of stairs that form an excellent circuit - you can start on the Hickson Pier side of the park and run up the Baludarri steps, tackle the central Burrawang staircase and finish on the Girra Girra steps, looping back along the foreshore run.

And if you're not interested stair runs, you can always use the three flights of stairs to get from one side of the Reserve to another.

Suburban Steps and Stairs
Woolloomooloo Escarpment Stairs
In the Kings Cross / Woolloomooloo area, Butlers Stairs, Hordern Stairs and McElhone Stairs link Victoria Street and Brougham Street at various points along the ridge, giving access on easy access on foot from the high ground of Woolloomooloo Hill (now part of Kings Cross and Potts Point) to the Woolloomooloo foreshore. The neighbourhoods were initially separated by an escarpment, and the divide was social as well as physical. This is seen in the classic 1920s Australian silent film The Kid Stakes, based on the Fatty Finn comic strip, where the rich boy from Potts Point is contrasted with his poorer cousins from The 'Loo.

All the stairs were created during the Victorian era, their names honouring City Council aldermen of the day. Stairways such as these were part of the Sydney City Council's Victorian infrastructure boom, and the sophisticated level to which these stairways are detailed shows a level of civic pride and financial investment in pedestrian infrastructure that had not been undertaken previously in the city. By the end of the Victorian era the public stairway in Sydney had become an important element of the city's landscape, defining what the future pedestrian network of the city would be.

Horderns Stairs

Horderns Stairs link Brougham Street in Woolloomooloo with Victoria Street, Potts Point. Built in 1882, the stairs are named after Edward Hordern, a local resident and alderman, to commemorate his term of office with the Sydney Council.

Horderns Stairs in the 1960s

McElhone Stairs is one of three sets of stone stairs that link Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross. McElhone Stairs recalls John McElhone, a Sydney Municipal Councillor. Near the bottom of the stairs on Cowper Wharf Road is Harry's Cafe de Wheels, a pie cart that's been a Sydney late-night institution for over 50 years. Its walls are festooned with photos of famous patrons, mostly politicians and pop stars, enjoying a meat pie at Sydney's most famous outdoor eatery.

McElhone Stairs

They were called Challis Stairs between 1904 and 1918 because of their proximity to Challis Street. The stairs were renamed to commemorate John McElhone, a merchant and politician who had lived in Potts Point, where he died on 6 May 1898. John McElhone represented Fitzroy Ward in the Sydney Municipal Council in 1878-82. John Henry Challis owned the land by 1858. When Challis died in 1889 he bequeathed a large part of his estate, including the land, to the University of Sydney. In 1890 the land was 'resumed by the crown for wharf purposes'. Today the stairway still provides access from the heights of Potts Point to the wharves and the south side of the stairway still runs along what was the boundary of the original Challis estate.

The stairway of 113 steps was known colloquially as the 'Stairs of Doom' or 'Stairs of Death' not just for the arduous nature of the climb, but also for the vibrant and colourful users, the sexual encounters and the physical dangers that have given them a special place in Sydney's artistic history. They were constructed in 1870 to give access to the high society houses of Pott Point and delights of Kings Cross from the wharf area of Woolloomooloo Bay.

McElhone Stairs was the site of real life drama during the Cold War. The stairway was one of the sites for the espionage activities of Ivan Fedorovich Skripov, First Secretary of the Russian Embassy in Australia. In 1962 he used one of the stanchions of the stairway balustrade as a secret drop-off point to conceal an aluminium message container intended for collection by another secret operative. The container was recovered by ASIO agents. Skripov was declared persona non grata and forced to return to Russia.

Butler Stairs

Butler Stairs also connect Brougham Street, Woollomooloo, and Victoria Street, Potts Point. With 103 steps, they are believed to have been named after James Butler, an Irish alderman, and draper who lived with his family at 148 Victoria Street, Enfield. Butler was Alderman for Fitzroy Ward, from 1 December 1863 to 30 November 1869. He was instrumental in having the stairs laid. Interestingly, there were a number of James Butler's living in the Loo area so there has been a little confusion over the years as to which of them was the Alderman.

Hills Stairs

Hills Stairs (24 steps) give access to McElhone Street from Brougham Street below Butlers Stairs. The stairs were laid in 1869. Their name recalls George Hill, a Surry Hills publican and butcher, the eldest son of former convicts William Hill and Mary Johnson. Hill was a member of the first Legislative Council in 1848-56 for the counties of St Vincent and Auckland, and a member of the Legislative Council from 1856 until his resignation in 1861.

Butler Stairs

The name of Butler Stairs is carved into the stone entry piers of the stairway but there is no plaque to James Butler. Instead there is a plaque to Mick Fowler, a man who made a significant contribution to the area. Mick Fowler was a local resident who lived in Victoria Street and became an activist in the long political and social struggle that began in 1973 and involved 'Green Bans' by the Builders Labourers Federation and resulted in many of the terraces on the street being retained.


Beares Stairs

Beares Stairs in Darlinghurst, built in 1887, link the two levels of Caldwell Street. Beare's Stairs fall within the Barcom Avenue Heritage Conservation Area. Other steps nearby are in Forbes Street (cnr William Street), Berwick Lane and Kings Lane. All were created during the Victorian era, their names honouring City Council aldermen of the day. In 1878-82 John McElhone represented Fitzroy Ward in the Sydney Municipal Council. John Beare was a city Alderman from 1881 to 1899.

Chard Stairs

Chard Stairs in Darlinghurst were created as a result of William Street being widened in 1916. Where Forbes Street slopes downhill towards Woolloomooloo Bay, it passes through a number of sudden dips where other streets intersect it; and William Street is one of those dips. When William Street was widened on the south side, it left Forbes Street hanging, so a set of stairs were built in 1925, cutting off access by vehicular traffic. Originally, Forbes Street ran all the way down to the Findger Wharf on Woolloomooloo Bay where Harry's Cafe de Wheels stands. It is stopped by Chard Stairs and further downhill, the Plunkett Street housing estate and school.

Chard Stairs

The steps' name recalls Mr William Chard, who owned the house alongside where Forbes Street was cut. Unhappy with the time the local council was taking to design, approve and build the stairs, Mr Chard commissioned an architectural practice to put together a concept for the stairway which he forwarded to the Council for its consideration. Chard's efforts had the desired effect, however it was not until 1986 that the stairway was named after Chard, the man who had been instrumental in the creation of the most highly detailed and decorated stairway in the city.

Sarah's Walk, Chowder Bay

If you have walked from Bradley Head to Clifton Gardens, and want go back to Taronga Zoo but by a different way, you can take a short cut across the top of Bradley's Head peninsula, or walk up Sarah's Walk to Morella Road, from where bus 228 runs back to Milson's Point at the north end of the Harbour Bridge. Be warned, the walk will get the heart rate up as it involves climbing 151 nice spaced, shady stairs. Alternatively, at the top of the stairs, you can turn north up Morella Road and loop back on the stairs that descend to Clifton Gardens, or you can turn south on Morella Road to make a shorter loop on the next set of stairs.

The stairs are named after the daughter of Mr David Thompson, who owned the land around Clifton Gardens and Taylors Bay. Thompson built the Marine Hotel which operated from 1885 to 1967, as well as a wharf and dance pavilion. When he subdivided his property in 1912, he named Sarah Street after his daughter, and David Street after himself. Sarah Street led down to Clifton Gardens Wharf, while Sarah Walk was a shortcut. A decade later, Sarah Street became part of Morella Road.

Gallipoli Steps, Seaforth

Gallipoli Steps are a flight of stairs linking Battle Boulevard to Edgecliff Esplanade. Originally wooden steps, they were built around the time of World War 1. According to Jack Linton, a long-time Seaforth resident, there were 135 steps. Battle Boulevard, which was also named after the Gallipoli lsnding, was first mentioned in Sands' Directory in 1909. The steps most probably did not exist before the subdivision of Seaforth in circa 1906, and possibly did not exist before the establishment of Edgecliffe Esplanade, which was around 1912, but they may have been in existence for a few years before the events of World War I led to them being called Gallipoli Steps. The Gallipoli operations ended in December 1915. The vew from the top of the 150 steps of Gallipoli Stairs is across Middle Harbour towards The Spit.

Mount Street Steps, Pyrmont

Mount Street Steps today
Built in 1889, this flight of stairs has wooden steps and a steel handrail. They were rebuilt in the 1970s. The steps link the two levels of Mount Street in Pyrmont. This area formed part of the CSR site.

Mount Street Steps from cnr Miller and Mount Streets, Pyrmont, November 1923

Elizabeth Macarthur Bay Steps, Pyrmont

Elizabeth Macarthur Bay Steps

Around the turn of the 19th century, John Macarthur purchased large amounts of the land on Pyrmont Point and the area became a favourite picnic spot for John and his wife Elizabeth. At that time stately Moreton Bay fig trees graced parts of the peninsula and the bay on its north-west corner, which he named Elizabeth Macarthur Bay after his wife. Due to its proximity to Sydney, as the suburban area grew, Macarthur's land increased in value and was eventually sold off, first for residential development and then to industry. Ultimo-Pyrmont became heavily industrialised and CSR moved into the area in 1875, establishing a sugar refinery.

Founded in 1855, CSR (Colonial Sugar Refinery) Limited was formed from a reconstruction of the Australian Sugar Company, the first company established in Australia for refining sugar. CSR began building it new refinery at Pyrmont on Johnstons Bay to the south-east of Elizabeth Macarthur Bay in 1875. Quarryman Robert Saunders was called in to level the site of the refinery to just above sea level. The rock quarried from the site was used to building the refinery, seawalls and buildings in and around Pyrmont.

Elizabeth Macarthur Bay Steps were carved into the quarry rock wall by Saunders to give access to the refinery for those of its workers who lived in cottages in Mill, Point and Herbert Streets. The steps today link Pirama Street with Giba Park.

Cairo Street, South Coogee

Acknowledged as the steepest in Sydney, the South Coogee Stairs (210 steps) are a magnet for fitness fanatics who enjoy training outdoors. If uou use the stairs for interval training, you can run the stairs one time or three times and when you need to catch your breath you can do so whilst admiring the spectacular ocean and cliff views on this picturesque strip of coastline. The South Coogee Stairs are located 1.6km from Coogee Bay Road.

Lavender Bay Stairs

Running through the middle of the Lavender Bay Parklands off Lavender Street, North Sydney, are the rather steep Lavender Bay Stairs that go all the way down to the Lavender Bay foreshore. The stairs, located at the end of Walker Street, were built at a time when North Shore trains terminated where Luna Park now stands, long before the Harbour Bridge became a reality. Commuters arriving at the Milsons Point station either caught a ferry to the city, or climbed the Lavender Bay Stairs if their destination was North Shore. These days the line is just a storage siding, but the stairs and the tunnel under the tracks that leads to the bottom of them are as popular and well used as ever.

Alongside the stairs is an alternate way to get from the top to the bottom or vica versa - Wendy's Secret Garden, created over more than 20 years by artist Wendy Whiteley, wife and muse of Australian artist Brett Whiteley. It's a haven where you can explore meandering pathways, discovering sculptures, enjoy a picnic lunch or read a book at one of the tables or benches beneath the garden's leafy canopy. You may even stumble across a hidden fairy house.

Balmoral Stairs, Balmoral

These popular stairs adjoin the bushland of HMAS Penguin. There are 262 evenly spaced stairs, but fortunately they are not steep and the landings between stair sets allow a short recovery. The stairs are located across the far side of Balmoral park, close to the skate ramp. The stairs close at 8:30pm in Summer Daylight Savings, and 6pm in winter.

Barney Kearns Steps, The Spit

From 1829, a ferry operated by a former Irish convict, Barney Kearns, carried passengers across the waters of Middle Harbour from Chinaman s Beach to Clontarf. A set of 216 gruelling stairs that climb up from Kiora Ave near Rosherville Reserve to Parrawi Road are named for the ferryman. Quarry Steps are further along Parrawi Road, climbing up to Spit Road.

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First Fleet Steps

Agar Steps

Beares Stairs

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