Zig Zag Scenic Drive


Zig Zag Railway: Originally built as part of the Upper Darling Range Railway in 1890-1891 by E.V.H Keane, the rail line was used to connect the timber concession at Canning Mills with the main line at Midland. The rail line was extended and bought by the state government in 1903 before closing in 1949. The rail line had a series of switching points (zig zag) where trains reversed direction, alternating pushing and pulling in order to climb the steep one in 30 grade of the Darling Range. The train was an important means of transportation for local people. It was also popular with the many visitors who came up the Zig Zag to enjoy the views, forest bushland, wildflowers, fresh air and attractions of Kalamunda which was a destination for short stays, weekend retreats and convalescing. Much of the former railway has been converted to walking paths as part of the Railway Reserves heritage trails.

Stratham's Quarry: Thomas Stratham, who established the quarry on Ridge Hill Road in 1894 served on the Darling Range Roads Board from 1899 to 1902 and later as a Perth City Councillor. The high walled quarry face is in a semi-circle and provided blue stone for road construction, and laterite and gravel. On site was a concrete and timber crushing plant, metal water tanks, powder magazine and a tram spur line joining the Zig Zag railway line to transport the stone to Perth. The lower valley was home to many workers living in tents and tin humpies of which there is no evidence now. On the death of Stratham in 1918 the quarry was purchased by the City of Perth in 1920 and operated until 1939.

War-time plane crash: In 1945 a US Navy DC-3 plane, the Blue Goose, crashed on Gooseberry Hill following an early morning take-off in heavy fog, bound for Adelaide from Guildford Airport (now Perth Airport). The airplane was built by Douglas Aircraft Corporation and because of its blue colour was affectionately known as "The Blue Goose". It arrived in Australia in 1944 and was classified as a utility training unit assigned for general duties for the US Navy. The thirteen crew and passengers on the flight, including three US Red Cross nurses, all died, making the crash one of the most significant in Western Australian aviation history. The site sits on private property and cannot be accessed by the public.

Sport and Recreation

Walk the Zig Zag: The Shire of Kalamunda hosts an annual walking event on Zig Zag scenic drive in early October. The road is closed so that pedestrians can enjoy the scenic views and natural parkland surroundings with the increased safety of a car free road.

Hill-Climb: Two key sporting events, the Tour de Perth cycling event and Targa West car rally, use Zig Zag drive as a hill-climb stage. The road is closed for the events and provides a unique challenge in both events.