Mark Tedeschi

Barrister, author and photographer Mark Tedeschi describes his longstanding support of and connection with Sydney Living Museums.  

Mark Tedeschi AM QC is a well-known Australian barrister who has prosecuted many significant and high-profile cases. He is also an accomplished academic and true-crime author. To write his three true-crime books – Murder at Myall Creek, Kidnapped and Eugenia – Mark made extensive use of the records and photographs at the Justice & Police Museum.

Mark is also known to SLM in a very different capacity. A highly skilled photographer, he has held 15 solo exhibitions and participated in over 20 joint exhibitions in Australia and overseas. One of his solo exhibitions was held at the Justice & Police Museum in 2008. Entitled Legal Chameleons, it featured 20 images of practising barristers in their robes doing their own thing – hobbies, pastimes and extracurricular activities. The Justice & Police Museum and the Museum of Sydney both have large collections of Mark’s photographs, and the Museum of Sydney has a historical collection of his photographs of the Aboriginal Housing Corporation premises taken around Eveleigh Street in Redfern in the late 1980s. Mark has also donated many non-photographic items to the Justice & Police Museum collection.

What drew you to photography?

I’ve been a keen photographer for over 30 years. It’s kept me sane during periods of high activity in my legal work, because it uses a totally different side of my brain.

Tell us about your connection to SLM, particularly the Justice & Police Museum.

The Justice & Police Museum is one of the most delightful cultural gems in NSW. Its collections are so diverse and fascinating, and I think it’s one of the best crime museums in the world. I’ve been a supporter of SLM for many years because I believe that its philosophy and activities are essential to preserve our cultural and built history. If we don’t preserve this heritage, we lose a part of our collective soul. As it is, too much of our built environment has been, and is continuing to be, destroyed in the name of so-called progress. It causes me physical and psychic pain when I see this happening.

Can you tell us about some of the photographs you’ve donated to SLM, and why?

I’ve donated many images of lawyers and courts to the Justice & Police Museum because, as a barrister, I’ve had unparalleled access to these people and these buildings. I see it as my role to preserve this cultural heritage using my photographic skills. I donated my photographs of Eveleigh Street and environs in Redfern to the Museum of Sydney because I felt that this precinct was such an important part of the Indigenous presence in Sydney. Unfortunately, much of it has now been torn down and its residents dispersed to other parts of NSW.

You recently stepped down from your role as Senior Crown Prosecutor, one you held for almost two decades. Does this mean more time for photography?

Hopefully more time for photography, true-crime writing, travelling and bushwalking. However, my private practice as a barrister may impinge on all those activities for some time to come.

Complete this sentence: Sydney Living Museums is …

… a cultural treasure house of our history and an essential part of our collective identity.

Portrait of man in dark suit.

Mark Tedeschi. Photo courtesy Mark Tedeschi