I’m Spinning Around | The Famous Hill’s Hoists

The Australian invention Hill’s Hoists outdoors clothes line transformed backyards across Australia in years after World War Two (WW2) due to a couple of wayward fruit trees behind a house in an Adelaide suburb.

Lance Hill of Glenunga returned home from War in 1945 to find the trees competing for space with the family clothes line. Rather than remove them, Hill looked for an alternative drying device that would take up less room than the line. Using his laundry as a workshop, Hill fashioned an innovative replacement; a compact rotary clothes line that could be raised and lowered.

  • It was a prototype of the famous rotary clothes hoist that would bear his name and soon become synonymous with suburbia – The Hill’s Hoist.

Little wonder the Hill’s Hoist has ended up in Australian art, from tea towels to major artworks including:

  • Through the Back Garden – John Dent (born 1951), painted this oil on canvas in 1981. The scene depicts the artist’s domestic back garden in Richmond before he left for Europe for further study in  France. Dent has been inspired by the French painters, particularly Bonnard and Vuillard, both masters of the intimate and his paintings and prints show this sensibility. (Castlemaine Gallery collection).
  • Older Than the Hills – (Part of a Tea Towel Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney entitled The Australian Dream: Design and the Home of the Fifties).
  • Beyond the PaleSandra Hill also tackled hanging washing on the line.  Born in Nyoongar in 1951 it was painted in Balingup, Western Australia in 2010. Made from synthetic polymer paint on plywood, and painted wood, this work references the assimilation policies of the 1950s and 1960s and the whitening of Aboriginal Australia. The white paling fence accords with notions of being fenced off, or marginalised.  (National Gallery of Victoria collection).
  • Backyard With Bathtub – photograph (2001). Rex Dupain (born 1954), the only son of photographer Max Dupain, was introduced to photography at a young age but put his photographic pursuits on hold to study painting in the 1970s at the National Art School, where he later taught painting and drawing. He went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts (Painting) at the University of New South Wales in 1992, and pursued a successful career as a painter. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that Rex rediscovered his love and talent for photography. His work has since been exhibited widely around Australia and the rest of the world, including an exhibition in Paris in 2010.

“I’m spinning around, Move outta my way”

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