HistoryUnderworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties

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Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties

Underworld mugshots
Arthur Caddy, 6 March 1929, Suspect, offence unknown, Special Photograph number 1714, NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums

Take a step back in time and journey to the dark side when Hinkler Hall of Aviation presents Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties.

Curated by Nerida Campbell from Sydney Living Museums (SLM), the photographic exhibition will take you to the seedy underworld of the roaring twenties with a selection of candid and compelling mugshots taken by New South Wales Police between 1920 and 1930.

Executive Director of SLM Adam Lindsay, describes the exhibition as a significant selection of amazingly personal criminal portraits from the ‘Specials’ collection.

“These portraits capture humour, defiance, bravado, malevolence and vulnerability – emotions that speak directly to us as we view these incredible photographs,” Mr Lindsay said.

“The ‘Specials’ are an intriguing social resource offering an insight into Sydney society and a broader reflection of similar issues experienced in cities around the world from London to New York, Paris and Berlin.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey applauded staff at Hinkler Hall of Aviation for securing another exciting exhibition dedicated to the era of Bert Hinkler’s greatest triumphs.

“The 1920s saw Hinkler celebrated for numerous pioneering achievements, including his revered 1928 record breaking flight from England to Australia,” he said.

“While he was out trailblazing the skies and lighting the spirits of people around the world, a darker side of the twenties was being captured by New South Wales Police.

“A century later we can enjoy these raw and intriguing images that have been skilfully reproduced from the original glass negatives.”

Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties is showing free to the public at Hinkler Hall of Aviation from 22 January until 31 March 2022. Find out more here.

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