Welcome to the dark side of the Roaring Twenties

Exhibition now on tour

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 now on tour

Until 2019


Tour schedule

The Workshop Railway Museum
North St, North Ipswich QLD 4305

Sat 15 Sep 2018 - Sun 24 Feb 2019

Newcastle Museum
6 Workshop Way, Newcastle NSW 2300

Sat 9 Mar 2019 - Sun 9 June 2019


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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