Australian culture: the Hills Hoist

While rotating clothes lines attached to a heavy metal pole stuck in your backyard have been around in Australia since the turn of the 20th century, it was a bloke named Lance Hill who made his model in Adelaide in 1945 and then expanded production so successfully that like ‘xerox’ and ‘kleenex’, his brand name became synonymous with the rather more wordy description ‘height-adjustable rotary clothes line’.

I first heard the phrase after arriving in Australia, and it seems that the legendary Hills Hoist is much more than a way to dry clothes, but a representation of a vision of Australia itself, the backyards of the 50s and 60s, backyard BBQs, family and childhood.

Check out this lovely photo essay that I found here while looking for a free photo to post. And hopefully Hills won’t mind me copying the photo above since it helps advertise their product

Anyways, this is just to copy what Wikipedia has to say about the Hills Hoist, since it feels to me that while possibly perfectly authentic, it also feels irreverent enough that it might not stay up forever. Or with some sort of disclaimer:

The Hills Hoist is also commonly used in Australian drinking culture with the smashing game “Goon of Fortune”. Goon of Fortune combines two of Australia’s most revered creations, the Hills Hoist and cask wine. Four sacks of cask wine, more commonly referred to as “goon,” are attached to the end of each cross beam. The contestants then rotate the clothes line while chanting their favourite goon song. When the clothes line stops the closest contestant takes a long drink of the wine, 10 seconds is the norm. For the “Goon of Fortune” to be authentic there must be a combination of 3 types of cask wine: Fruity Lexia, White and Red. The fourth sack can be either of the three; however, contestants prefer the saying, “Fruity Lexia makes you sexier!” and thus Fruity Lexia is the goon of choice. The winner of the game is the last one standing or the last not to vomit. A beer bong may be used in place of the usual 10 second drink if the other contestants feel that participant is failing to drink enough and therefore cheating (usually foreigners unaccustomed to Australian amounts of alcohol).

[Note: this description was removed soon after by Wikipedia moderators as ‘unsourced’ material. I’m glad I’ve recorded it for posterity here, since I think it really is very funny. I posted it up on Facebook and asked Australian friends if they knew of the game. Most were horrified at the thought that this was Australian culture. One said he’d heard of it. Another said that to his shame he had played this…]

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