Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

SLM MoS exhibition of Police photographs

Augustine Gracey and Edgar Dalton were felons who managed to dupe authorities and enlist to fight in World War I.

Ben Hill, Sordid lives of Sydney’s emerging criminal class exposed in never-before-seen images from the 1920s at the museum, The Daily Mail, 4 December 2017

The seedy underbelly of Sydney’s criminals during the 1920s will be exposed in an exhibition featuring never-before-seen police mugshots.

The ‘Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties‘ exhibition at Museum of Sydney opens on Saturday and features more than 130 police mugshots taken during a turbulent decade of crime in the city.

Cocaine dealers and addicts, illegal alcohol sellers, Mafia bosses, petty criminals, prostitutes, pickpockets, thugs, thieves and wayward youths make up the subjects of the compelling mugshots drawn from police files and featured in the exhibition.

Museum curator Nerida Campbell said the 1920s saw ‘massive social upheaval and fast times bred new crimes’.

‘Criminals moved into new markets including the illicit sale of alcohol and cocaine and the police had to employ every tool and technology to keep up.’

The criminals photographed are shown smoking, reading, chatting, slouched on chairs, holding handbags and wearing stylish outfits.

More images

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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