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Clothesline Profile – Wendy from Tasmania

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I live in a rural area of Tasmania, Australia, am a mother of 3 grown up kids and 1 almost grown up who boards away for school 5 days a week and Grandma of four. I started out working life as a registered nurse but these days work part time and office assistant and bookkeeper for 4 different small businesses.

My washing line is a magnificent double string line about 12m long and definitely out off keeping with the traditional Australian Hills Rotary Hoist.  (Edited to add… that as an American, I’ve never even heard of such a clothesline!  It’s so very cool and has such a wonderful history, it makes me almost want to get one of these lines, too!)

Old Advertisement for the Hills Hoist Clothesline


Click on the “hoistt” link above to see a full page ad in PDF of the Hills Clothesline!

And, if you want to buy a Hoist line for yourself, I found a company in Australia selling them  for $420 AU dollars – about $450 American.

For much of the year here it is hard to get washing dry in a day as the air can become chilly and damp by 4 in the afternoon. It has been known to be stiff and frozen if left overnight which delighted my kids when they were little. I am often obliged to finish it inside on in the dryer but most of the work is done free of charge by Mother Nature.

My line was built by the previous owner/builder of my home who was obviously a Bloke with a capital B as he didn’t skimp on materials. The line is thick wire rope from an old power line, the posts treated pine, well concreted in and going nowhere. The posts are high enough to encourage kookaburras and night time possums to use it as a perch occasionally. A couple of weeks ago my daughter caught a quick glimpse of a magnificent snowy white goshawk resting there. A rare sight indeed.
It used to come with a pair of bush pole props. For non-country folk a bush pole is a tree branch/trunk. In my case a good 5cm in diameter and 2m or so long- otherwise known by me as ‘the sticks’. Very effective at hoisting the middle of the lines nice and high. These succumbed to old age some time ago and I decided to stop washing dragging by developing what I like to call my Patented Adjustment System – otherwise known as string and a nail.

Please feel free to copy this magnificent idea but remember, not any old string will do. Something sturdy enough to withstand vigorous tugging by the elements and UV stable is well advised. And for the nail, I chose a roofing nail that has a little hat on its head which nicely stops the string slipping free. The cleverly spaced knots are entirely personal, well random actually, as long as you laundry is held clear of the ground you have got it right.
It’s lovely to see washing flapping in the breeze and don’t you like the smell of sheets fresh from the line?

Thanks so much Wendy for sharing your line with us all the way from Tasmania!  I hope that you have lovely line drying weather in your future!

If YOU have a line you’d like to share, please drop me a line at :  lifeontheclothesline at gmail dot com 


8 responses »

  1. Wendy Hatton

    I should have thought that there would be poor people out there who had no idea what a Hill Hoist was like! Every suburban backyard had a Hills. The (very old) picture you found is of a sturdy style that lasted for many, many years. I remember as a child, and my children too, spending a lot of outdoor time swinging round and round hanging from the hoist.
    In more recent times they seem much less sturdy to me and the lines are thin plastic coated stuff. Probably perfectly fine for pegging out but I bet not nearly as much fun for kids.
    Perhaps there is someone reading who has lived with Hills and has stories to tell.

  2. how did i miss this? wendy , bloke indeed! i just spent five years in tasmania dearly missing my american clothes line!! so when i saw yours my mouth went open. with strait line envy! xxxx

  3. OK – Jeannie here… I should have looked at those pictures closer. Wendy, your basket cart is so cool! I would love to get better pictures of that … do you happen to know how to make one? Clearly, we are lacking in clothesline technology here in the US!

    • Wendy Hatton

      While my cart is my best friend at laundry time I would be ashamed to post pictures of it- it’s so OLD and a teeny bit rusty.

  4. I love the fact that something as simple as hanging clothes can connect us world wide! I love your basket cart.

  5. Wendy Hatton

    I showed my not-quite-adult 16yo daughter this post this evening when she came home for the weekend as I was excited that it had had an audience. I suspect she thinks I have a sneaking suspicion that she thinks I am a little embarrassing talking to strangers about my washing. She was amazed that not only are rotary clothes lines a novelty but that my ‘basket cart’ (it’s always been ‘laundry trolley’ at our place) might interest anyone at all. Her belief in the madness of ‘old people’ has been cemented well and truly.
    As you can see by it’s patina of rust I have had my trolley for many years- nearly 30 when I come to think of it. It lives outside for easy access when I take a basket of washing out of the gate to the line and is a real back saver when hanging out. In more recent years it has had a second life amusing small grandchildren who delight in roaring about the yard with it. And still it lives on!
    These very ordinary objects can be found in bigger hardware shops as well as K-mart or similar shops that sell laundry baskets and the like. They even come with oval or rectangular holes for different shaped baskets.
    I have absolutely no idea how to make one from scratch!

  6. Yes Hills Hoists can be found in many many backyards in Australia. Pretty much all homes older than 20 years have them cemented in!! A few years ago we bought a 60 year old house with no clothesline!! The first thing we did was bought a hills hoist!

  7. Hi Wendy from Tassie ! I live in New Zealand and have had both the Hills and straight double line clotheslines. The thing that surprises me is that more people do not design the horizontal bars(arms) at each end of line so that they can move against the upright. My Father in law made me a clothesline that had two medium dog chains on the end of the horizontal bar, one either side and that manually tilted the line – one line up and one line down so to speak if you needed extra height to catch wind or for longer sheets etc. When height was right you yanked on chain link, fastened it to a nail on the upright and hey presto. I see many people do have variable height lines but they’re static.


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