Welcome to the dark side of the Roaring Twenties

Exhibition on now at the Museum of Sydney

Descend into Sydney’s seedy underworld in our new photographic exhibition revealing the dark side of the Roaring Twenties.

Explore more than 130 candid and compelling mugshots taken by New South Wales Police between 1920 and 1930. Known as the ‘Specials’, they are unlike any found elsewhere in the world.

Immerse yourself in all things Underworld with the stunning accompanying book and an exciting line-up of talks, tours and more.

Exhibition on now

Until 12 August 2018

Museum of Sydney
Open daily, 10am–5pm
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day

Admission charges apply

Please note: The lift at the Museum of Sydney is closed on Thursday 9 August only with the Underworld exhibition only accessible via stairs on that date. Please see or call staff for more information. T: +612 9251 5988

Plan your visit


Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets
Sydney NSW

Museum of Sydney location map

Related events

Media partner

Sydney Morning Herald

Museum of Sydney

Major partner

AMP Capital

Supporting partner

Grosvenor Place

Promotional partner

Dendy Cinemas

The Stories

Explore the dark side of the Roaring Twenties and meet the players of Sydney’s criminal underworld and the police who fought to keep the mean streets clean.

The Roaring Twenties



The Collection

These mugshots are part of the New South Wales Police Forensic Photography Archive, a remarkable collection of images held at the Justice & Police Museum.

Find out more
about the collection

Get the book

Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties

This book features 220 intriguing mugshots of police suspects from 1920s Sydney. Documenting the denizens of the criminal underworld – from stone-cold gangsters to wayward youths – it provides an extraordinary rogues’ gallery of thugs and thieves, prostitutes and pickpockets, white-collar opportunists and blue-collar gunmen.

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