Barbara Turner Taylor: Plotter

Barbara Turner Taylor, Special photograph number 570, 10 October 1921, probably Central Police Station, Sydney

Barbara Turner Taylor, Special photograph number 570, 10 October 1921. NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive, Justice and Police Museum, Sydney Living Museums

Described by police as the cleverest magswoman and confidence trickster in New South Wales, Barbara Turner Taylor was a master in manipulation.

Targeting businessmen and lawyers with her tales of hardship, she would convince them to lend her money, over time accumulating thousands of pounds. 

Compounding her victims’ humiliation, she later wrote a book about her exploits, naming and shaming those who had fallen for her scams. She hoped her life story would one day be turned into a movie.

Noting the sweet demeanour shown in her mugshot, it is easy to see how successful businessmen and lawyers could fall for her scams. 

Alias Barbara Bradley, Edna Gillespie, Edna Florence Gillespie, Florence Gillespie, Barbara Taylor, Barbara Tiernan, Barbara Tierney, Barbara Turner.



About the author

Nerida Campbell


Nerida’s passion for history was sparked by childhood holidays spent at her grandmother’s farm, happily rifling through chests brimming with family photographs, cast-off clothing and gramophone records.