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Mug shot of Sidney Kelly, 25 June 1924, Central Police Station, Sydney.  
 
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Title: Mug shot of Sidney Kelly, 25 June 1924, Central Police Station, Sydney.
 
Creator: New South Wales. Police Dept.
 
Date: June 1924
 
Format: [Picture] Glass plate negative:
 
Inscription: Emulsion side:
 
Place: Central Police Station (Sydney, N.S.W.)
 
Subject: police detainees and suspects
mug shots
 
Description: Special photograph no. 1266. Details surrounding this particular photograph are unknown, but Sidney Kelly was arrested many times and much written about in newspapers during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. He was charged with numerous offences including shooting, and assault, and in the 1940s was a pioneer of illegal baccarat gaming in Sydney. This image appears in the Photo Supplement to the NSW Police Gazette, 26 July 1926, p. 6 captioned, "Illicit drug trader. Drives his own motor car, and dresses well. Associates with criminals and prostitutes."
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."
 
Published in: Peter Doyle with Caleb Williams City of shadows: Sydney police photographs 1912-1948 Historic Houses Trust, 2005, pp.172, 175, 234.
 
Exhibited in: City of Shadows at the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, November 2005-January 2007.
 
Source: Justice & Police Museum ; 024
 
Rights: Justice & Police Museum
 
Record no: 31183