Wednesday 10 January 2018

Prisoner Photographs

NSW State Archives has recently digitised its collection of gaol photograph description books.  The documents cover from 1870-1930, and include more than 47,000 photographs of prisoners.  In most cases these will be the only photos of a person.  A bonus is that as well as searching by name, you can search the index by place of birth.  A search for prison inmates born in Campbelltown brings up around twenty-nine men and six women.  They include Carmel Willis Gee, the son of a prominent and well-respected local identity named William Gee. William Gee served with Campbelltown Council as an alderman as was active in the Congregational Church. His son Carmel Willis Gee was born in Campbelltown in 1882. In 1910 he was gaoled for nine months for two counts of larceny. He also served a concurrent charge of misappropriation of funds by an accounting officer. Carmel died in Campbelltown in 1915. There are also wonderful gaol photographs of Bridget Mahoney. Bridget used Alice Northcote, Alice McPherson and Mary Smith as some of her many aliases. She was gaoled over a plethora of charges in her life time including stealing, indecent language, indecent behavior and riotous behavior- just to name a few!

The link to the site is

There is also an exhibition called Captured: Portraits of Crime 1870-1930 that can be viewed at the Western Sydney Records Centre at Kingswood. It runs until April 28 this year.

Written by Andrew Allen

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