State Reformatory for Women at Long Bay – NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive (Justice & Police Museum Collection)



A collection of around 400 glass plate negatives documenting female offenders and detainees; taken by Sydney gaol staff between 1915 and 1930.

This collection of portraits was created by New South Wales prison photographers. They were taken in a makeshift studio on the top floor of the female reformatory building which forms part of the current Long Bay prison complex. In some of the images the background curtain is not properly secured allowing the viewer a rare glimpse of female prisoners labouring away at sewing machines.
The photographs were created to assist in the identification of prisoners but they also document changing fashions as the subjects often wear their own clothes, not prison uniform. The collection contains portraits of well-known Sydney criminals, including Matilda ‘Tilly’ Devine, Nellie Cameron and Eugenia Falleni.


Crime; Criminal identification; Mug shots; Portraits; Women's clothing and accessories

Coverage Spatial

New South Wales; Long Bay; Sydney; Australia

Coverage Temporal




2012-05-30 23:45

2011-12-19 12:53