Mug shot of Eileen May Burt, 3 January 1924, Central Police Station, Sydney.
Special Photograph No. 1055. The NSW Police Gazette of 30 January 1924 mentions Eileen May Burt, 18, being sentenced to seven days hard labour for stealing, but released under the first offender provisions of the Crimes Act, and charged to be of good behaviour for 12 months. Later that year a warrant was issued for her having breached those conditions and a further entry in October lists her as having been arrested and charged, but then released with a caution.
This picture is one of a series of around 2500 "special photographs" taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930. These "special photographs" were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station, Sydney and are, as curator Peter Doyle explains, of "men and women recently plucked from the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their apprehension". Doyle suggests that, compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, "the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed - perhaps invited - to position and compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories) and physical characteristics."