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Striking and strange mug shots from 1920’s Australia

By now, we have seen all kinds of mugshots: of celebrities, with black eyes, torn clothes,  so we kind of think that the we have seen all the “badass” criminals. But guess we haven’t see nothing at all, because this super rare photo collection from  New South Wales Police Department reveal some really freaky 1920’s mugshots.

Apparently, the Australian gangsters and criminals keep their cool even when they got arrested. The mugshots among which are women and children, are more than an official police mugshot, they seem like a regular photo session of classy people with suits and smiling faces.

Some of the mugshots reveal really sad and emotional stories, while some can be described as hilariously weird. Many of the mugshots are captioned with a name and the description of the crime committed.

Walter Ceoght Arrested on 9/02/1922

NSW Police Gazette identified Walter Keogh as a bogus land salesman, pickpocket and suspect person.

Ellen Kreigher Arrested on 13/7/1923


W.O.R.P.H Smhidt Arrested on 13/4/1921


Greta Massey, Arrested on 26 January 1923


This classy lady was a hotel barber, plausible impostor and fraud. She used alias surnames such as Gordon, Spencer, Crawford,  as well as  ‘Nurse Campbell’ and ‘Nurse Nicholas’




Herbert Ellis- Arrested in 1921

He may look classy and elegant, but Herbert Ellis was a regular at the police station.  His police records were mostly theft offences, he was arrested as a safe breaker, house breaker, suspected person and a receiver.

Joseph Messenger arrested on 15, 1922

Joseph Messenger with a fellow criminal  Valerie Lowe (see photo bellow) were arrested for breaking into army warehouse and stealing coats and army boots.

                                                                     Valerie Lowe Arrested on 15/2/1922

A.Smith Arrested on 15/08/1923




W.J Fords and C.O. Wash
Eugenia Falleni, alias Harry Crawford arrested in 1920
Eugenia Falleni, alias Harry Crawford arrested in 1920

If we have to pick a favorite among this adorably weird list, we pick this one. When Harry Crawford a hotel cleaner was arrested for the murder of his wife, the police reveal that Crawford was originally Eugeni Falleni, a woman and mother. Falleni had been passing as a man since 1899, he/she had married a widow Annie Birkett. Apparently, Bricket had reveled Eugeni’s secret to a relative and she had later disappeared.


Hampton Hirscham, Cornellius Joseph Keevil, William Thomas O’Brien & James O’Brien -1921
Frederick Edward Davies Arrested on 14/7/1921

The Inscription of the above mugshot reads : “Frederick Edward Davies stealing in picture shows and theaters; Dets Surridge Clark and Breen Central 14-7-21′.

E.J Coffey Arrested in February 1922
Sidney “Pretty Sid” Grant Arrested on 11/10/1921

‘ Pretty Sid’ was a known Con Artist and was a regular visitor at the New South Wales Police. In this mugshot he was captioned as a Confidence man (notes for gold)’.

Harold Price Arrested on 13/8/1923

H.Price was arrested under the conviction for committing a rubbery under arms at house in Sidney. He was a gunman and thief.

A.O Feutrill Arrested on 4/5 1920
F.Murray-  Arrested on 4/2/1929

Frank Murray alias Harry Wiliams was arrested for  breaking, entering and a thievery. He was described as a quiet and introverted person.

Thomas Bede Arrested on 22/11/ 1928
J.Dempsy Arrested on 2/8/1927
Albert Stewart Warnkin and Adolf Gustave Beutler Arrested on 18/11/1920
Albert Stewart Warnkin and Adolf Gustave Beutler Arrested on 18/11/1920

Albert Warnkin  was charged for attempting to carnally abuse an eight year old girl. There was no record for Adold Gustave, only the inscription on the mugshot that reads “wilful and obscene exposure.’

George Whitehall arrested on 24/2/ 1922
George Whitehall arrested on 24/2/ 1922

The Carpentner George Whitehall had handed himself to the police station, admiring the murder of his common-law wife Ida Parker in their home in Pleasant Avenue, Erskineville. Apparently, this photo was taken the same day as the murder.

Kong Lee Arrested on 27/11/ 1922
Kong Lee Arrested on 27/11/ 1922

Kong Lee had numerous arrest records,  most often for ‘safe blower’ and ‘thief.’

All photos: NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Justice & Police Museum/Historic Houses Trust of NSW

Neil Patrick

Neil Patrick is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News