“Money lost – little lost. Honour lost — much lost. Pluck lost – all lost”
― E. W. Hornung, Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman
Fay Watson, 24 March 1928 – arrested for possessing cocaine
These mugshot portraits – we’d call them pictures but their style demands more – are part of 2500 “special photographs” taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930. These people frequented the cells of the Central Police Station, Sydney, Australia.
Their posture, styling and the tableau suggest an interesting modelling assignment. But their crimes, such as they were, ran the gamut from petty to heinous. We’ve included a few of their crimes to remind us that what we are looking are felons who have done people harm.
William Stanley Moore. 1926. Captioned: Opium dealer./ Operates with large quantities of faked opium and cocaine./ A wharf labourer; associates with water front thieves and drug traders
Thomas Craig, Raymond Neil (aka “Gaffney the Gunman”), William Thompson and FW Wilson. 1928.
Albert Stewart Warnkin and Adolf Gustave Beutler.
Albert Stewart Warnkin is listed in the NSW Police Gazette of 10 November 1920, as charged with attempting to carnally know a girl eight years old. No entry is found for Beutler, whose picture is inscribed ‘wilful and obscene exposure’.
Nancy Cowman, 21 February 1924
Esther Eggers. 1919.
Crime: malicious injury to property and wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. When a police officer arrived to arrest Esther Eggers for malicious damage she attacked him, causing serious injury. Eggers was sentenced to 12 months prison. Aged 22
Herbert Ellis. 1920.
Frederick Edward Davies. 1921
Harold Price. 1923
Sidney Kelly. 1924.
Hampton Hirscham, Cornellius Joseph Keevil, William Thomas O’Brien & James O’Brien. 1921
Eileen May Burt, 3 January 1924
Sidney “Pretty Sid” Grant. 1921
Walter Smith. 1924
Alfred John (or Francis) West. 1922.
West is mentioned in the NSW Criminal Register as a ‘pickpocket and spieler’
Patrick Riley. 1924.
Patrick Riley (alias Matthew Edward Riley) was convicted in October 1924 of making counterfeit coins, and of having a coining instrument (ie a mould) in his possession, for which he was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour.
Masterman Thomas Scoringe. 1922
Thomas Bede. 1928
Walter Keogh. 1922.
Walter Keogh appears in the Photo Supplement to the 1923 NSW Police Gazette (7 February Group 1 p. 4) identified as a pickpocket, and later in 1928 (26 December, Group 4 p. 15) as a ‘suspected person and bogus land salesman’. Keogh was also profiled in exposes in the newspaper Truth in 1928, as a ‘go-getter’, ie a con man who sells suburban building blocks at grossly inflated prices, by falsely leading the buyers to believe the lots may be promptly resold for a huge profit.
Ernest James Montague. 1927
Ernest Joseph Coffey. 1922
John Walter Ford, Oswald Clive Nash. 1921
Guiseppe Fiori, alias Permontto. 1924
George Whitehall. 1922
“Silent Tom” Richards and T Ross. 1920
Sydney Skukerman, or Skukarman. 1924
William Cahill. 1923
Gilbert Burleigh and Joseph Delaney. 1920
Frank Murray alias Harry Williams. 1929
De Gracy and Edward Dalton, 1920
Joseph Messenger. 1922.
Eugenia Falleni, alias Harry Crawford. 1920. Crime: murder. Eugenia Falleni spent most of her life masquerading as a man. In 1913 Falleni married a widow, Annie Birkett, whom she later murdered. The case whipped the public into a frenzy as they clamoured for details of the ‘man-woman’ murderer. Aged approximately 35.
Via Sydney Living Museums, Rare Historical Photos