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This Is What Prison Looked Like For Women In 1920's Australia

This Is What Prison Looked Like For Women In 1920's Australia image

This Is What Prison Looked Like For Women In 1920's Australia

Thanks to the meticulous and incredible colourisation skills of Matt Loughrey, the past has never been so vivid and alive.

His company My Colorful Past based in Westport, Ireland works on the advanced colorization of historical photographs.

Those photographs are then displayed in museums, galleries and archives around the world, offering a fresh perspective on historical figures, events and landmarks.

One of our favourite series is the work his team have done in colorizing some of Australia's most notorious female criminals from the tumultuous 1920s. With the end of World War 1 still fresh in everyone's minds, 1920's Australia was undergoing a dramatic period of change.

There were significant advancements in technology during the decade. Australia's first airline Qantas took off in 1921 before the arrival of radio ushered in a new era of entertainment in the family home in 1923.

But just as real change and real momentum was starting to ramp up, the Great Depression of 1929 struck causing unemployment and poverty to reach unprecedented levels.

These remarkable mugshots provide a rare insight into the personalities, fashions and characters that lived during such a period of upheaval and innovation. Life was certainly a little harsher back in those days.

Mrs Osbourne, location and details unknown, around 1919:


Alice Cooke at the Sydney Women’s Reformatory in 1922. By the time she was 24 Alice Cooke had created an impressive number of aliases and at least two husbands, and was convicted of bigamy and theft:


Barbara Turner, 10 October 1921, Central Police Station, Sydney. Con woman Barbara Taylor Turner was known as one of the greatest swindlers of the early 20th century, conning thousands of pounds out of local solicitors using six aliases:


Ellen Kreigher, who had just been arrested and charged with murder, 13 July 1923, Central Police Station, Sydney:


Alice Fisher, 23 May 1919, State Reformatory for Women, Long Bay, NSW:


Thief Muriel Goldsmith, criminal record number, 231LB, 29 October 1915. State Reformatory for Women, Long Bay, NSW:


Vera Crichton at the Sydney Women’s Reformatory in 1924. Was arrested after being caught conspiring to procure a miscarriage:


Daphne Barker, 26 April 1923, probably at the Central Police Station, Sydney. Details unknown:


Valerie Lowe, 15 February 1922, Central Police Station, Sydney. Valerie Lowe was arrested in 1921 for breaking into an army warehouse and stealing boots and overcoats which were worth 29 pounds 3 shillings:

Speaking of police mugshots, here's a few more for you to check out and pour over. Firstly there's these 18 classic mugshots from 1920s and finally 25 modern day mugshots that have to be seen to be believed.

Via My Colorful Past

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