Picture a dapper, Deco-era criminal and chances are someone like Al Capone, John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde will most likely come to mind. But what about William Stanley Moore, Eugenia Falleni, Gilbert Burleigh, Joseph Delaney, and Giuseppe ‘Permontto’ Fiori?
A recently unearthed collection of Australian mugshots from the 1920s over on Rare Historical Photos certainly makes a case for the latter mob. Decked out in three-piece suits, sharp hats, artful neck-ties, glossy shoes and beautifully folded pocket squares, the felons in these pics aren’t just in possession of some serious criminal histories, but also some serious sartorial steez.
Scrolling through each image, you’d be forgiven for thinking the shots came from the set of some carefully styled film set, and not the cells of Central Police Station, Sydney. But they are indeed real pictures of real lawbreakers from a wild time in Australia’s history, and thanks to the Justice & Police Museum, which has just released over 2,500 mugshots from its archives, their stories can now be shared and remembered.
Photos, top to bottom:
William Stanley Moore, 1926. An opium dealer. Operated with large quantities of faked opium and cocaine.
Thomas Craig, Raymond Neil (aka 'Gaffney the Gunman'), William Thompson and FW Wilson in 1928, after a raid at 74 Riley Street, Darlinghurst – a house frequented by "reputed thieves".
Sydney Skukerman (alias Cecil Landan) arrested in 1924 for obtaining "goods from warehousemen by falsely representing that he is in business".
The supremely well-haired Frank Murray (alias Harry Williams), arrested in 1929 for theft.