Once cameras became cheaper at the turn of the century, local governments began hiring dedicated photographers to produce "mug shots". Because there was limited communication between police departments around the globe, this type of photography came with quite a bit of diversity initially. We stumbled upon this unique collection from New South Wales, Australia and were fascinated by the photos and stories. All photos courtesy of the Sydney Justice & Police Museum.
Alice Adeline Cooke, 24 at the time of this picture, was convicted of theft and bigamy. She had amassed a large number of aliases and at least two husbands at the time of her arrest.
Ms. Alice Clarke was what was known as a "sly frogger" in her parts. After legislation came in that forced pubs to close at 6pm, Ms. Clarke decided to open up her own bar in her house for the after-hours guests. She was 42 in this photo.
Young Annie Gunderson was charged in 1922 with stealing a fur coat from a Sydney department store called Winn's Limited. She was 19 at the time of this photo and appears to be wearing the coat in question.
Ms. Doris Poole was a seasoned shoplifter who specialized in stealing jewelry and clothing. At this arrest, she received a six month sentence with light labor.
Ms. Elizabeth Singleton had been working in the trade of soliciting for a good number of years before she was arrested and imprisoned.
Esther Eggers, 22, was wanted by local police for property damage, and when a local officer arrived to arrest her, she attacked him. Ms. Eggers was sentenced to 12 months prison. Photo from 1919.
Ms. Jessie Longford was arrested July 22, 1926 by an undercover policeman known as 'The Shadow'. Ms. Longford was a well-known shoplifter and the local police department thus put one of its top agents on the case. She was 30 at the time.
Ms. Leslie Selina Gertrude Rees was arrested October 8, 1915 of bigamy. She was sentenced to four months of light labor for her crime.
Here we find Ms. Lillian Sproule on October 31, 1928. She was one of the kingpins of the cocaine trade in the region and labeled a 'parasite in skirts' by the newspapers. She was sentenced to six months in prison with this arrest.
May Ethel Foster was a well-known cat burglar who worked with a male accomplice to break in to homes around Sydney. Her known alias was May Saunders.
Ms. Nellie Cameron was one of Sydney's best-known "working girls". Lillian Armfield, Australia's first policewoman, said Ms. Cameron had an "assured poise that set her apart from all the other women of the Australian underworld."
Despite her cherubic looks, Ms. Patsy Neill, a local barmaid, was an active criminal in the burglary and drug trade. She was described in the press as "looking like a mannequin on parade."
If you liked this story, hit the "Share" button below to pass it on to friends...