Image copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This image is licensed under CC BY-NC

ID number ART02908
Title Hitchi-Koo machine (delousing fumigator)
Collection Art
Object type Drawing
Maker Leist, Fred (Artist)
Place made Belgium: Western Front (Belgium), Ypres Area, Ypres
Date made 1917
Medium charcoal with watercolour, heightened with white on paper
Measurement sheet: 48.6 x 57.2 cm (irreg.); image: 35.6 x 45.2 cm


Charcoal and watercolour sketch depicting the preventative health services delousing fumigator (Hitchi-Koo machine). Two soldiers are loading the bank of three autoclave ovens with discarded clothing for fumigation to kill lice. Autoclaves are wooden barrels with metal doors that will resist high pressures. The steam is made by heating the water jacket from underneath, a canvas cover is rolled at the side, and three ovens are mounted on the trailer with pressure valves on top.The men are loading the ovens and standing on a temporary platform. An officer supervises the unloading from a wagon. Frederick Leist was a painter, illustrator and teacher. He studied at the Sydney Art School and the Art School of New South Wales from c.1894-95. During the 1890s he worked as an illustrator for the 'Bulletin' and 'Sydney Mail' and trained as a furniture designer with the David Jones department store. In 1908 he went to England and became an artist with the London 'Graphic' while exhibiting his art work at the Royal Academy in 1911. He worked for the British War Office between 1915 and 1916 and worked for His Majesty's Stationary Office designing posters for First World War recruitment. Leist was appointed an official war artist in September 1917, attached to the 5th Division AIF and worked twice in France between September to December 1917 and from June to August 1918. His commission was terminated in 1920.