Prison underworld of Nineteen Twenties New South Wales captured in exhibition of uncommon mugshots


“They’re in contrast to any mugshots that you simply see wherever else on the earth – and we’ve appeared.”

Sydney Dwelling Museums curator Nerida Campbell says mugshots reproduced from glass negatives for the travelling exhibition Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties are candid and compelling.

Greater than 100 mugshots are included within the exhibition on the Albury Library Museum in regional New South Wales.

“Botany” Might Smith, photographed in 1928, was suspected of supplying cocaine.(Equipped: NSW Police Forensic Pictures Archive, Sydney Dwelling Museums)

Ms Campbell stated the pictures had been taken of suspects by NSW police between 1920 and 1930.

“There are about 130,000 negatives held on the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney and these are photographs taken by officers in the midst of their inquiries,” she stated.

“The photographs had been taken in order that police might present them to witnesses from a criminal offense with out making them conscious that this particular person was in police custody.”

Ms Campbell stated the suspects introduced their very own character and character to the photographs.

“Some are staring proper down the digital camera attempting to intimidate the police officer taking the photograph and among the girls are flirting,” she stated.

“Individuals are smoking cigarettes, holding purses and holding conversations.”

Side by side 1929 black and white mug shots of Guiseppe Mammone. Close up of Arthur's face and Arthur wearing hat, standing
A 1930 photograph of Guiseppe Mammone, who was suspected of homicide and believed to be a Camorra mafia chief in Sydney.(Equipped: NSW Police Forensic Pictures Archive, Sydney Dwelling Museums)

Ms Campbell stated the Nineteen Twenties had been a time of nice change in the prison underworld in NSW.

“We start to see cocaine being offered and acquired throughout that interval,” she stated.

“Earlier than that there have been not as many vehicles on the roads, however within the Nineteen Twenties we see the rise of the ‘teenage joy-rider’ — younger males who simply could not resist the lure of these shiny quick vehicles.

“They’d steal them, however a lot of them hadn’t pushed a automobile — they hadn’t even seen their mother and father drive a automobile.

“You may think about the sorts of mayhem we had been seeing on the streets of cities and in cities in that interval.”

Side by side 1929 black and white mug shots of Gladys Lowe. Close up of Gladys face with hat and Gladys leaning on chair.
Gladys Lowe in 1928. Ms Lowe was suspected of opium possession.(Equipped: NSW Police Forensic Pictures Archive, Sydney Dwelling Museums)

Mafia bosses to petty crims all characteristic within the mugshots.

“Within the photographs you will note all the pieces from these stone-cold gangsters … by means of to youngsters who made one dumb mistake and ended up in police custody.”

Side by side 1929 black and white mug shots of Edna Lindsay. Close up of Edna's face and Edna, standing next to a chair.
Edna Might Lindsay in 1929. Ms Lindsay stole a cheque from her employer. She and her boyfriend solid the signature with the purpose of cashing it.(Equipped: NSW Police Forensic Pictures Archive, Sydney Dwelling Museums)

Ms Campbell stated some tales behind the photographs had been a thriller, however many had been recognized.

“There may be one image that I discover compelling — she is a 19-year-old named Edna Lindsay, dressed as a gorgeous flapper, and you may see the tears in her eyes.

“She had been led astray by her boyfriend and had stolen a cheque from her employer and received caught.

“If you take a look at that picture you’ll be able to see the darkish circles beneath her eyes and the tears making her eyes glisten, you simply do not see that in fashionable mugshots to that diploma.”

1920s black and white mug shots of Charles Simmons, head tilted, staring at camera.
Charles Simmons, alias George Moody, in 1920. He was suspected of a break, enter and steal.(Equipped: NSW Police Forensic Pictures Archive, Sydney Dwelling Museums)

Ms Campbell stated a Nineteen Twenties police photographer would have wanted an excellent relationship with the particular person being photographed, as they needed to preserve a pose for a couple of seconds for a clear picture to be captured.

“He had to have the ability to get them to go together with what he wanted,” she stated.

She stated the Nineteen Twenties NSW police officer who took the mugshots had exceptional photographic expertise.

“We imagine the police photographer was George Howard,” Ms Campbell stated.

“He must cope with pure gentle,  glass-plate negatives and processing them.

“It was a really totally different talent to in the present day.”

Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties is on on the Albury Library Museum till October 30.



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