National Library of Australia

Teachers notes: The Hills Hoist

Designing, Making and Appraising

A student:

  • investigates how community needs and environment affect the design of products and the processes used, e.g. investigates cooking utensils and cooking methods from different cultures.
  • creates and prepares designs and production ideas after considering various alternatives and their advantages and limitations.
  • creates and prepares designs and production ideas that consider function, aesthetics (appearance) and use in society and the environment.
  • creates and prepares designs and production ideas using suitable graphics and conventions (accepted methods of developing designs) as well as appropriate technical language and symbols.
  • organises, carries out and adjusts production processes that require the preparation of detailed plans and reports and uses suitable technical language and conventions (accepted ways of doing things).


A student:

  • justify their choice of materials taking into account functionality, appeal and environmental impact e.g. justifies the choice of materials for a toy garage or spice rack on the basis of strength, safety and aesthetics.
  • selects and uses techniques and equipment to work materials with precision and safety in order to achieve a specified standard.


A student:

  • explains the elements (parts), structure, sequence (steps), operation (workings) and control (management) of systems, e.g. talks about, draws and demonstrates how a pneumatic pump works.

The Hills hoist is a national symbol of suburbia and an excellent example of the impact of design on our everyday lives.


Review the Hills hoist design.

  • Are the materials appropriate?
  • What are its design advantages and disadvantages?
  • Can it be improved upon?

Consider the design feature of the crown and pinion winding mechanism which allows the Hills hoist frame to be raised and lowered.

  • Discuss its mechanism.
  • How innovative as a design solution do you think it is? Why?
  • When you have a good idea, how do you protect it so that you can commercially benefit from it?
  • Go to IP Australia’s website to see how Hill protected his design at
  • How do other cultures in densely populated areas solve the same problem of clothes drying? What ideas for new design solutions might this suggest?