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clothes prop

A long (2.5-metre), smooth tree branch, about 10cm in diameter, with a vee at the top. It was used to prop up a sagging clothesline of wet and hence very heavy clothes: Get the clothes prop under the line quick-smart, before the sheets dangle in the dirt!

Contributor's comments: Clothes lines were strung at length between windmill type poles, and the clothes prop was usually selected from the local bush, cut down and trimmed for home use. An annual clothes prop trip to the bush was common as the wood was often green.

Contributor's comments: Clothes prop in common use in Victoria in 1950's - my experience was at Yallourn, Gippsland.

Contributor's comments: A clothes prop was used in Orbost - East Gippsland - until everyone bought a Hills Hoist.

Contributor's comments: Clothes prop was used by my family when we lived in Melbourne in the 1950s and also seemed to be commonly used in North-East Victoria until the glorious days of the Hills Hoist elevated the most families away from the old wire clothes line.

Contributor's comments: We also use 'clothes prop'. In fact we used one down the back yard about six years ago.

Contributor's comments: As a child in north-eastern Victoria, and later in the Wimmera/Mallee area of Victoria this was the common term. Rotary clothes line [Hills Hoists] were unknown in country Victoria in the 40s, 50s 60s. A piece of wire strectched between posts or trees, with a clothes prop sufficed.

Editor's comments: This term was probably used Australia-wide, just as it has now most likely been discarded Australia-wide in favour of that ubiquitous Aussie invention the Hills Hoist. The "clothes prop man" or "clo' prop man", an itinerant purveyor of clothes props, was formerly a well-known Australian figure. But, does anyone still use clothes props?

Contributor's comments: I remember if you broke the clothes prop during a game in the back yard, you had best!!

Contributor's comments: We had a clothes prop in Geelong as far back as the 30s and I use one now, in Melbourne. Old habits die hard!

Contributor's comments: Clothes prop man came round streets of Bondi in the 1930s - a product of Depression desperation no doubt, like the Watkins Man - carrying a few of these dry forked saplings over his shoulder, they were sixpence each, he called "Cl-o-o-o-thes Props!"