Quintessentially Australian, the Hills Hoist conjures childhood memories of kids running through drying bedsheets, weekends spent mowing the lawn in circles around it and tying spinning Catherine wheels to its wires on cracker night.
Once found in every grassy back yard, plonked in the centre of the Buffalo lawn, this symbol of Australian suburban life forms part of the family as it serves almost every day through sun, wind and rain holding countless loads of washing out to dry.
Since its introduction in 1945, the classic design is unparalleled in its efficiency for drying clothes, with many homeowners extending the life of this stalwart with a revamp of the original wires or a new handle winder.
Wongawallan mother of three, Amy Beard, is one such person. Passionate about her Hills Hoist that was installed by her father on 17 August 1962, it played an integral part in her vintage sleepwear business, Jasper Creek.
Having lived with the family for three generations, the affectionately named ‘old girl’ has lived to see man land on the moon, the invention of Aerogard Insect Repellent and the Bionic Ear, and the opening of the Sydney Opera House. She even appeared on the quintessential 90’s Australian TV show, The Adventures of Skippy.
“I’m sure people must think I’m crazy for holding a retirement party for my Hills Hoist," says Amy. "But honestly why not - it’s a bit of fun and she’s been in my family for three generations. When the gears stopped working and I couldn’t get spare parts, I had to start planning my send-off for our iconic backyard fixture!"
“Living sustainably is very important to me and the ‘old girl’ has played an integral role in my business designing and making sleepwear, which I make from vintage bed linen. The range speaks to the nostalgia I get when I see my Hills Hoist.”
Household brand Hills literally came to the party when Amy reached out. “Amy originally contacted us in search of spare parts for her Hills Hoist," says Hills Product Manager James Parkinson. "After hearing her story we are delighted to offer her a brand new Hills Heritage Hoist 7-Line Clothesline.
“It’s fantastic to hear stories like Amy’s and we hope she creates many more fond memories with her new Hills Hoist which we will install with its own inscription,” he added.
“It’s amazing to see how the humble Hills Hoist has gone from a simple Australian invention to an iconic part of our way of life."James Parkinson
Amy will keep a small plaque from the ‘old girl’ clothesline to be framed in her laundry to remember her iconic backyard fixture.