Skip

Australian mug shots, 1912 - 1964
January 7, 2011 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Mug shots of Australian criminals, 1912 - 1964.

Alma Henrietta Agnes Smith was an illegal abortionist. Patsy Neill possessed cocaine. Nellie Cameron was one of Sydney's best-known, and most desired, prostitutes.

The first link is the index of the photo collection (there are other photos from the era to find if you try searching different items). This page displays all the photos at once.
posted by twirlypen (47 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

 






THANK THE HI-RES GODS
posted by cmoj at 7:42 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two more recent malefactors.
posted by Abiezer at 7:52 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I came across some of these photo's awhile back, the ones from the early half of the 19th century have been turned into a book called Crooks Like Us by Peter Doyle. At the time I couldn't find more images or I would've made a post.

Some of them are wonderful just on their own without knowing why they got where they did.
posted by squeak at 7:58 PM on January 7, 2011


So awesome. Also see Australian Criminals of the 1920s as seen earlier today on MetaChat. This one kills me.
posted by iconomy at 7:59 PM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Australian criminals"

Isn't this redundant?
posted by Eideteker at 8:00 PM on January 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Certainly, this is what Metafilter is for. Pure awesome.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:05 PM on January 7, 2011


Isn't this redundant

You can't be serious...

You do know we used to have to import them from the Poms by the boatload because of our overwhelmingly law-abiding character.
posted by pompomtom at 8:05 PM on January 7, 2011 [22 favorites]


"In 1932 she had a disagreement over money with the infamous sly grogger Kate Leigh"

Awesome.
posted by shothotbot at 8:07 PM on January 7, 2011


thats a pretty big book
posted by clavdivs at 8:08 PM on January 7, 2011


I think I recognize these women from Kids in the Hall.
posted by snofoam at 8:14 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]




I'm struck by how lined their faces are. They almost all look so much older than their posted ages. Hard life, hard living and lack of moisturizer, I guess.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:25 PM on January 7, 2011






Reading these makes me want to drink some sly, sly grog.
posted by aubilenon at 8:40 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


You just don't see faces like this anymore.

Srsly? You need to visit my (rural Ontario) town.
posted by unSane at 8:42 PM on January 7, 2011


It's also the electoral roll!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:44 PM on January 7, 2011


Edith Ashton was a backyard abortionist who also dabbled in theft and fencing stolen goods. Described in the media as a 'social somebody' and an 'equestrienne' she was, however, not adept at performing abortions and was suspected of contributing to the deaths of at least two women.
posted by LarryC at 8:49 PM on January 7, 2011


And now I'm even more pissed off that every time I go to Sydney, I plan to go to the Justice & Police Museum, and every time, my fellow travellers are really keen to go with me... up until we get to Sydney, and then they decide that they can't be bothered and I end up capitulating to whatever dull activity they decide to do (oh god, not Darling Harbour AGAIN).

Nice post, twirlypen.

PS: Got a week with no kids ahead of me. Seriously considering driving to Sydney to do the Museum by myself, visit the gluten-free bakery in Leichhardt, and surprise a couple of online friends I've never met IRL.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:49 PM on January 7, 2011


This post is fantastic!

I think this one is my favorite: "Kathleen Ward had convictions for drunkenness, indecent language and theft. She obviously enjoyed thumbing her nose at the authorities, as can be seen in this image where she appears to have deliberately fluttered her eyes in order to ruin the long-exposure photograph."
posted by chatongriffes at 9:13 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]




There was an excellent exhibition (and book) of curated photos from the Police Museum a little while ago. I've mentioned it on MeFi before - it was called City of Shadows, and can be purchased on amazon. Some of the more striking images are crime scene photos.

There's been a small upsurge in interest about 1920s Australian crime recently with news that Underbelly 4 is going to be a period piece based on Razor, Larry Writer's book about the feud between Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh. Vice queens, razor gangs and sly grog. Don't miss it, folks.
posted by zamboni at 9:41 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


just what is this "sly grog" they keep on talking about?
posted by ennui.bz at 10:15 PM on January 7, 2011


just what is this "sly grog" they keep on talking about?

Hooch.
posted by Jimbob at 10:45 PM on January 7, 2011


These were fascinating, thanks.

And then I looked at zamboni's crime scene photos link, where I found the Dr. Tozer that had been murdered by Ms. Mort.

Now for more grog.
posted by patrick rhett at 10:57 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sly-grog.
posted by Ritchie at 11:24 PM on January 7, 2011


Vincent Gallo: Bigamist
posted by basicchannel at 12:07 AM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Convicted of stealing. The jury could not decide whether Nellie Cassidy was guilty of 'stealing a lady's costume', or if she had merely acted as a fence, and so a special verdict 'that she was guilty of one or the other' was entered. Aged 23.
posted by basicchannel at 12:12 AM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


what an ugly bunch.

lets have some real run

bonus
19th Century French Criminal Tattoos by Lacassagne
posted by clavdivs at 12:53 AM on January 8, 2011


Eugina is fascinating. It's all fascinating.
posted by the noob at 1:47 AM on January 8, 2011


Grandma..? Is that you?

("Sly grog" and "sly grogging" are still terms in regular use across the north of Australia, where many towns and communities have full or partial bans on alcohol sales. Pic of fairly typical sign about halfway down this page.)
posted by Ahab at 2:07 AM on January 8, 2011


I was so confused about why they were all called Alice until I realised it was in alphabetical order. My first theories were way cooler. I should probably go to bed now.
posted by lollusc at 4:09 AM on January 8, 2011


Also, wow! I am amazed that Harry Crawford/Eugenia Falleni was married twice for multiple years without his wife suspecting that he was biologically female. (How did that possibly work?)
posted by lollusc at 4:12 AM on January 8, 2011


Obligatory and predictable joke about Aussies all being criminals.

Obligatory gleeful smirking about THE BLOODY ASHES! YAAAAY!!!

What do you call an Aussie with a hundred to his name? A bowler! Hahahaha!

Sorry, sorry. I'll calm down some time next week. Maybe.
posted by Decani at 4:35 AM on January 8, 2011


Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
"You'll never take me alive", said he,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me".
posted by bwg at 4:48 AM on January 8, 2011


"Australian criminals"

Isn't this redundant?


Alexei Sayle, the English comedian, was asked by an Australian immigration officer whether he had a criminal record. He famously replied "I'm sorry, I didn't realise you still needed one."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:31 AM on January 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love the term "sly grog". Is this sort of the cultural equivalent of the US term "speakeasy"?
posted by rmd1023 at 8:44 AM on January 8, 2011


I love the term "sly grog". Is this sort of the cultural equivalent of the US term "speakeasy"?

No. Grog is any kind of alcohol. It's a word that was widely used in Australia until the 1970s or so, but which then faded into rural and regional usage. It's still common across the north, particularly in Aboriginal English.

Sly is straight from standard English - meaning something secret, or cunning, or done with concern to escape notice.

The whole phrase "sly grog" is still used in relation to alcohol smuggled into "dry" towns and communities in the center and north of Australia. These are pretty common - many voluntarily ban alcohol, others have had alcohol restrictions imposed on them by state and federal governments.

Often "sly grog" is also turned into a verb. So the practice of running or selling sly grog is called "sly grogging" and people who do it are "sly groggers."

I guess if you had to match "sly grog" to a US equivalent it would be "bootleg liquor."
posted by Ahab at 11:18 AM on January 8, 2011


The sun damage on these people is incredible. When I looked at Alma Henrietta Agnes Smith, the abortionist, and saw she was listed as age 34, I thought it had to be a mistake. Then I started looking for ages and zooming in on everyone. Wow. Try it on the "rather good looking" Alice Cook, age 24.
posted by HotToddy at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess if you had to match "sly grog" to a US equivalent it would be "bootleg liquor."

I feel like 'moonshine' more captures the slang sense of sly grog, and means primarily the same thing.
posted by Hargrimm at 12:59 PM on January 8, 2011


Yeah, I realized that "moonshine" and "moonshiner" were better equivalents for "sly grog" and "sly grog-man" -- particularly with the implications of rural environment.

Man, now I want to see an aussie version of White Lightning.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:28 PM on January 8, 2011


I'm struck by how lined their faces are. They almost all look so much older than their posted ages. Hard life, hard living and lack of moisturizer, I guess.
Me too. Although, if you look at modern mug-shots, the same often applies. I guess the combination of a lifestyle that may include poor personal habits and the fact that the circumstances in place when the mug-shot is taken are generally not ideal contribute to people not looking their best.
posted by dg at 5:44 PM on January 8, 2011


I love the term "sly grog". Is this sort of the cultural equivalent of the US term "speakeasy"?

No. Grog is any kind of alcohol.


A Sly grog shop is somewhat similar to a speakeasy- an unlicenced pub or bottleshop, covertly selling inexpensive liquor. Different social context, though.

The depressing modern equivalent is the grog camps of the NT.

I feel like 'moonshine' more captures the slang sense of sly grog, and means primarily the same thing.

Moonshine indicates amateur distillation. Sly grog only implies covert transportation and/or retail, so I think bootleg liquor is a closer match.
posted by zamboni at 9:53 PM on January 8, 2011


I keep trying to imagine some of these women (especially the ones in their 20s) in modern young women's clothes and make-up, with ipods and whatever. I just can't see it. They look so fundamentally different somehow. And it's not just the sun-damaged skin, although that's part of what makes them look old for their ages. It's also something about the face shapes, and the eyes.
posted by lollusc at 1:01 AM on January 9, 2011


« Older We regret to inform you...   |   “We either live together, or we die together.” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post