Historic Hillman gifted to keep it in Gippsland

Moe resident Jon Hall (centre) has donated his 1960 Hillman Husky to Old Gippstown. He sits in the car with siblings Helen Jewell and Ian Coto. photographs hayley mills

Moe resident Jon Hall (centre) has donated his 1960 Hillman Husky to Old Gippstown. He sits in the car with siblings Helen Jewell and Ian Coto. photographs hayley mills

Jon Hall recalls an amusing picture in his mind of fellow Moe resident Lorna Coto, the wife of the late Dr John Coto, driving the 1960 Hillman Huksy he would later own for himself.

"I was going up over the overhead bridge and I saw Mrs Coto coming down the overhead bridge in it and I thought 'what a funny looking little thing that is' ... she could hardly see over the bonnet," Mr Hall said.

"And lo and behold you end up owning it."

This wasn't the only time Jon Hall saw the 58-year-old blue car before he bought it.

"I can remember Dr Coto coming to our place in that car when I was about 15 or so ... because [Dr Coto] did home visits in those days," Mr Hall said.

Mr Hall handed the keys to the vehicle over to Old Gippstown yesterday after 19 years of ownership.

"It's been in Moe for 58 years, all its life, and a lot of people can relate to it because there are people who are still alive who worked on the car as mechanics," he said.

The station wagon will retire most likely to an existence inside the gates of the park, driving school groups around the main street.

The Hillman has never been outside Gippsland, retains its original paint and motor and was mainly used for short trips around Moe.

"It's too slow to take out on the highway ... but they're perfect for going to places like Walhalla just on the back roads," Mr Hall said.

"I've spoken to a few people who had them in the early days and they said they were a good, old reliable car. They rattled and banged and they just sat on 45 mile an hour and that was it."

The children of the original owners of the Hillman Husky Ian Coto and Helen Jewell with former owner Jon Hall, his mother Judy and wife Maree.

The children of the original owners of the Hillman Husky Ian Coto and Helen Jewell with former owner Jon Hall, his mother Judy and wife Maree.

Helen Jewell and Ian Coto, the children of John and Lorna Coto, visited Old Gippstown yesterday for the handing over of the keys.

Ms Jewell remembers learning to drive in the car she thought at that stage "might make a nice surfing wagon" and recalls being "terrified" trying to make it up the Ollerton Avenue hill in second gear.

"Mum used to take us all the way to Seaspray for holidays in the car and we'd pack it up and the three of us and the dog would go for holidays ... and that's about as far as it went," Ms Jewell said.

Her brother Ian recalls his mother, who nicknamed the car 'Gerty', taking it shopping from their Langford Street home with her golden cocker spaniel Penny Lou.

"The grocery boy wasn't allowed to put any of the groceries in the back. Penny Lou wouldn't allow him to touch the car at all," he said.

You can still see the bite marks from on the back seat from when she would growl and bark.

Old Gippstown thanked Jon Hall for donating something of such local "provenance".

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