Hills Washing Lines Heritage
A Hills Hoist is a height-adjustable rotary clothes line, created in Adelaide, South Australia by Lance Hill since the mid 1940’s. The Hills Hoist clothes line remains a common fixture in many gardens and back yards in Australia and New Zealand. They are considered one of Australia's most recognisable icons.
Although originally a product name, the term "Hills Hoist" became synonymous with rotary clothes hoists in general, throughout Australia. They have become so famous an Australian icon, there is an early example of a Hills Hoist in the National Museum of Australia. A Hills Hoist was even featured in the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.
Lance Hill began to manufacture the Hills rotary clothes hoist in his own backyard in 1945. His wife apparently wanted an inexpensive and more compact replacement to the line and prop she had for drying the Hills family clothes. Lance Hill's brother-in-law Harold Ling returned from the war and joined him to form a partnership in 1946. Ling became the key figure in expanding the production and marketing of the Hills Hoists.
In 1947 Hills Hoists began manufacturing a wind-up clothes hoist with the crown wheel-and-pinion winding mechanism. Initially the clothes hoists were constructed and sold from Lance Hill’s own home in Adelaide. The Hills Rotary Washing Line proved instantly popular with families who wished to dry their clothes naturally without lines strewn across their gardens and backyards and the volume of orders meant production had to move to a more suitable manufacturing site nearby. They purchased surplus army trucks to make deliveries and a plant to manufacture the metal tubing from which the frame of the clothesline is made. Within a decade the factory had relocated to a much larger site at Edwardstown, Adelaide. The company Hills Hoists became Hills Industries in 1958 and remains a major part of the parent company Hills Holdings Limited. Today the company operates some 32 businesses with over 3,000 dedicated staff.