By Rebecca Drew
INCREDIBLE colourised images have given vibrant new life to Australia’s most notorious female criminals of the early 1900’s including the fearsome London born razor-gang leader Matilda Devine.
Like Birmingham’s famous Peaky Blinders post WW1 razor-gang, this series of expertly colourised pictures looks into the souls of their female counterparts Down Under, many of whom were British immigrants.
These included Valerie Lowe who was arrested for breaking into an army warehouse and stealing boots and coats, Vera Crichton who was caught conspiring to procure a miscarriage, during a time when abortion was illegal in Australia, and a smiling Ellen Kreigher who had just been arrested and charged with murder.
In another shot, thief Muriel Goldsmith is pictured posing proudly for the camera.
The pictures have been colourised Matt Loughrey of My Colorful Past from Westport, Ireland.
“I happened upon a story about Sydney in the early nineteen-hundreds that caught my attention when I saw the mugshot of a woman named Vera Crichton and her face jumped out at me,” explained Matt.
“For the observer, looking into the faces of those that face consequence is very telling of the human condition.
“Mugshots magnify it and tell us about ourselves and our own journeys in life.”
“It’s raw, telling and timeless, in that the fashions may change, but the laws are much the same.”
Matilda Devine, also known as Matilda Twiss was born in Camberwell, London in 1900.
She moved to Sydney in 1920 after marrying her Australian husband and soon started work as a prostitute. From June 1921 to May 1925, Matilda had 79-convictions for prostitution related offences including indecent language and offensive behaviour.
In May 1925, she was imprisoned for two years after slashing a man with a razor, earning herself the reputation of the ‘Worst Woman in Sydney’.
Matt said that it took him just under 120-hours to colourise the set of images.
“People are stunned and pensive when they happen upon my work, the reactions are always positive,” he said.
“I have been a photographer for some years, however, colourisation has fast taken over as the interest becomes far greater.”