Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Categories: History

The "creative tandem" of a mother and daughter who sold cocaine and a gang of thieves who disguised themselves as women and stole from American soldiers are the heroes of a collection of photographs of Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s found in police archives. The collection of black-and-white photographs of the NSW Police Forensic Archive is a whole palette of criminal types, including Ada McGuinness, who was called "the most evil woman in Sydney."

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

At that time, scammers often lured homosexual American servicemen stationed in Australia during World War II and robbed them, says Peter Doyle: "One was going on a date, and the second was robbing an apartment at that time."

During his arrest, McQuade told a local newspaper about his desire to portray women. The exhibition entitled City of Shadows ("City of Shadows") is constantly open to visitors of the Museum of Justice and Police, but there are not only traditional police portraits of criminals, but also pictures indicating certain personal characteristics of suspects.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Ada and her daughter Hazel McGuinness were arrested and taken to the central police station in July 1929 on charges of possession of cocaine and its sale, which they were engaged in in their own house in the suburb of Darlinghurst. The police considered Ada McGuinness one of the most active cocaine dealers in the city.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

In the photo taken at the police station, Hazel seems to repent of what she did, but the curator of the Museum of Living History of Sydney, Peter Doyle, claims that the girl had no chance: she was turned over by her own mother, who was engaged in prostitution, smuggling and drug trafficking.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Another "picturesque" tandem is 18-year-old Neville McQuade and 19-year-old Lewis Keith, who are dressed in women's clothes. The picture was taken at the entrance to the North Sydney Police Station in June 1942. The couple was accused of indecent behavior. In addition, stolen American money and military uniforms were found among their belongings.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

One of the most fascinating portraits of the exhibition is a photograph of Herbert Ellis, who was a famous safe cracker.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Alfred Ladevig, nicknamed Tiny, was a conman and pickpocket who toured between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, making money. He was arrested in Sydney in the early 1920s on charges brought in Brisbane. The photo was taken before extradition to Queensland. The picture looks like a studio one, not a police one.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

De Gracie and Edward Dalton were arrested in the early 1920s for fraud.

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

Sydney's criminal underground of the 1920s and 1940s - rare photos from the police archive

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