Sydney, Australia is a city created by inmate labor. Perhaps this is why Australia has a somewhat "rough and rowdy" reputation. A series of female mug shots from Australia's past confirms its crime history.
Frustrated with prison overcrowding, English prisons began shipping inmates to the United States for indentured servitude; sometimes those convicted were given a choice: shipped away, or to rot away in the filthy conditions of English prisons. The American War of Independence stopped this practice; the inmates were sent to Australia (an estimated 166,000 men, women, and children were transported between 1787 - 1868). In 1819 the Hyde Park Barracks became a prison for men and boys. Later it was revised as a hostel for Irish women escaping the famine, and later an insane asylum for women. Today Hyde Park Barracks is one of 11 Australian convict sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The earliest known "mug shots" were taken in Belgium around 1844. Several years later, police in the United Kingdom began using photographs to identify criminals. In 1888, criminologist Alphonse Bertillion developed and standardized the mug shot.
Here are a few mug shots taken of female criminals during the turn of the century in Australia. All of the mug shots were taken in New South Wales, Australia. They are archived at The Historic House of Trust. The faces have changed, but the type of crimes committed by women have not. History, in the faces of crime, surely repeats itself.
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Photo of J. Yates credit HERE