Australian criminals of the 1920s


All images from the Sydney Police archives
Thank you to La Boite Verte

18 comments to Australian criminals of the 1920s

  • Devlicious

    Very cool! I do wonder if there’s a way to find out their crimes to. That would make the pics even more interesting i think…

  • Gary Kennedy

    Fascinating, thanks. “This man refused to open his eyes”!

  • moog

    Fantastic shots but surely number nine is not the 1920s in those clothes…..unless they are time travellers!!

  • vonz

    what did they do!?

  • Jen

    My guess is that most of the women/men who are dressed up like women were arrested for prostitution, the rest are probably things like assault, public drunkenness, theft, etc.

  • wsnap

    Here’s the info on one of the photos. Maybe there are more photos at this site:

    Mug shot of May Russell, 31 January 1922, Central Police Station, Sydney. Details unknown.
    Special Photograph no. 936. This picture is one of a series of around 2500 “special photographs” taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930. These “special photographs” were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station, Sydney and are, as curator Peter Doyle explains, of “men and women recently plucked from the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their apprehension”. Doyle suggests that, compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, “the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed - perhaps invited - to position and compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories) and physical characteristics.”

  • jufjo

    I have a flickr collection with these and several other vintage crime photos, where possible I’ve added information regarding the case.
    Content warning.

  • barbara

    The girls in number nine are straight out of the forties, I think.

  • Barbara Kerr

    “My guess is that most of the women/men who are dressed up like women were arrested for prostitution”

    Not at all - we got fraud, vagrancy, theft, abortion, murder… A list of women and their crimes, including those above, appears here:

  • Devlicious

    Great site if you’re interested in these things! There’s a pics aswell as most of the crimes and convictions. Thanks Barbara!

  • fizzbin

    Picture 14 is a 3D stereographic picture :)

  • VonsterVon

    fascinating stuff..I also assumed most of the women would be there for prostitution or drunkenness… I wouldn’t cross some of these people, they look pretty shifty and ready for a scrap. brilliant insight into the past.

  • Natchan

    These photographers were artists. The majority of these photos are incredible high quality portraits. A joy to look at.

  • Marco Aurélio

    The unkempt, blase’ look that many of the “models” present makes them look like they came straight out of a contemporary fashion photo shoot.

    Says a lot about fashion these days.

  • incommunicadocat

    A friend of mine Rene found their crimes here…
    Great stories!

  • Jehanne

    Indeed, these photographers are artists! Check out this photo from 1865 mugshot of L.T. Powell:

  • Jane

    Beautiful photographs - made me chuckle. What had number 13 been banged up for?? I love the man who refused to open his eyes as well.

  • The really really boring and totally pointless snippets of information thread Mk XVII - Page 151 - PPRuNe Forums

    [...] Great pictures Mr More thanks,might be a few pruner got kin among this lot. Australian criminals of the 1920s | HOW TO BE A RETRONAUT [...]

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