bc Hardtmuth Lahm, artist, of 'Snifter', of Smith's Weekly, Fatty Finn's Weekly , The Bulletin and the Golden Boomerang.

Lahm - the artist

Born Estonia, in 1913
Artist and Creator

Page text (C) Greg Ray
Page updated 28th January, 2008.

Related page

'Snifter' - the dog

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Hardtmuth Lahm was born in Tallin, Estonia in 1913.

He migrated to Australia in 1929 with little money and little English, apparently planning to find work as an electrical engineer.

According to a 1950 article in People magazine: “During the Depression Lahm walked the streets of Sydney looking for any kind of work. He used to walk down George St, up Pitt St and down Castlereagh St from 9am to 6pm every day for months.”

He eventually enrolled at East Sydney Tech and started producing comic strips in the 1930s. Some appeared in Smith's Weekly, Fatty Finn's Weekly and The Bulletin.

In 1936 he began contributing to K.G. Murray’s new Man magazine, with some of his cartoons appearing in the first issue (December).

In 1937 he famously drew Snifter, a dog whose toileting habits provided endless gags.

An explanatory article published by Man in 1939 described how a staff member holidaying in the Northern Territory had found a dog and sent a telegram to the Man office.


The dog was brought back to Sydney and Lahm was commissioned to draw some cartoons based on Snifter and his habits.

When Man attempted to discontinue Snifter the magazine was inundated with complaints and reinstated the feature.

So popular was Snifter that he featured in his own series of booklets.

Proceeds from the largest and most lavish of these, Snifter's War Effort, were used to buy an ambulance for the AIF. Other Snifter booklets were: Mister Snifter, Snifter of the AIF, Snifter of the Secret Service and Snifter’s Post War Plan.

In May 1949 a younger version of Snifter - known as Snifter Junior, of course - began appearing in Man Junior, where he occupied the inside back page for many years.

By the 1950s “Hotpoint” or “Hottie” Lahm was one of Australia's best-known cartoonists, with his work appearing in many newspapers.

Lahm also illustrated a number of children's books, including his own book Paddy Bow-Wow - about a dog, and Musette Morell's The Antics of Algy featuring an ant. He also did some full-colour illustrations for the well-known Golden Boomerang series of books which were written by Lorna Bingham and published by radio producer George Edwards (a pseudonym of Hal Parks, of Dad and Dave fame).

An article by Jeff Prentice in the May 2004 issue of the Dromkeen Society's Bulletin cites Lahm's daughter-in-law June for the information that the artist married Joan Janetski in 1941. The couple lived at Hunter's Hill and had three sons.

A gourmet and food-lover, Lahm was a founding member of the Sydney Wine and Food Society.

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