down and under

1920s New South Wales Police Department, Australia: Criminal Mugshots.

I came across a couple of these photos the other day, and they intrigued me.
How nonchalantly the accused men pose; perhaps reflecting on a colonial 18thC ancestry as they accept their probable punishment; and just how far removed from the clinical, accountable records of today’s justice system these important historical records are.
In 1925 as the British government made the choice to put the pound sterling back onto the Gold Standard at the pre-war 1913 level, the ball of the Great Depression truly started rolling. Whilst the effects are not widely noted until the early 1930s, I find myself wondering if this lady, pictured here in the fur coat, in trying to survive the desperation during the years of growing poverty, simply needed to keep warm. Her crime: theft of the fur coat.
Every picture has a story and I think it is important to remember that all history is open to interpretation, even where written documents support ‘the truth’.


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