Love and larceny

All For Love: Part One

Edna May Lindsay, Special Photograph number 1765, 22 March 1929, Central Police Station, Sydney New South Wales Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums

Dual mugshot in black and white; woman seated, left, standing with hat on, right.
Love can make people do crazy things, risking their reputations, careers and even their freedom. New research into the NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive has revealed some unexpected stories behind the images.

Like many teenagers, fresh-faced 19-year-old Edna Lindsay fell in love with a most unsuitable young man – in her case, a dance hall lounger. In the 1920s, flappers like Edna flocked to Sydney’s dance establishments, where talented male dancers were highly desired as partners. Cecil Ernest Smith danced with passion and flair, and Edna was soon head over heels. Cecil dreamed of making a living from dance, and the pair decided they would run away from her disapproving parents, get married and take the nation by storm with their slick routines. They just needed one thing – money. The couple decided to steal 310 pounds from Edna’s employer by forging a signature on a cheque. When Edna presented the cheque, bank staff became suspicious and the police were called. In court, the magistrate gave Edna some fatherly advice, telling her that ‘Dancing was not everything in life’.1 She was given the equivalent of a good behaviour bond.

You can read more about Edna and other flappers in Underworld.

  • 1. The Sun (Sydney), 17 April 1929, p10.

About the author

Nerida Campbell


Nerida’s passion for history was influenced by childhood holidays spent at her grandmother’s farm, happily rifling through chests brimming with family photographs, generations of clothing and things she still can’t identify.