Notorious Criminals: A Snapshot of Sinister Sydney

Sydney’s first European settlers were criminals – not an auspicious start – and the city has maintained its reputation for breeding some of the world’s hardest, most malevolent and cunning crooks.

From surreptitious poisoners, smoothing their victim’s brow while holding a poisoned cup to their mouth, through to low-lifes who would kill you for the coat on your back, this city has seen them all....

The newest display at the Justice & Police Museum tells the story of nine of the city’s most notorious criminals. Stretching from the 1860s-1990s it features well known gangsters like sly-grogger Kate Leigh as well as forgotten criminals such as the Parramatta River murderers Lester and Nichols. Using intriguing objects and crime scene images it showcases a remarkable array of criminals including bushrangers, gangsters and a serial killer. Previously unpublished crime scene images of a cold-blooded murder committed by gangster John ‘Chow’ Hayes will be on display along with deathmasks, cut-throat razors and a poison bottle. Visitors can also explore the museum’s courtrooms and cells where many of the featured criminals spent time before doing time in jail.  

Open weekends + Fridays in January
Open weekends + Fridays in January

Open Today

10AM - 5PM