Crime in the Archives
One day in the Reading Room, a researcher came across an interesting section in the Police Gazette Supplement C from 1935-38 (NRS 10958 1/3351). It described a range of confidence tricks for Police to be aware of.
Have you fallen victim to a card sharper, or card shark as they are more commonly known as today? A card sharp was a person who cheated at cards to win money. Meet Henry Williams – while he might appear to be a presentable and likeable chap he was in fact a well-known card sharp operating around Sydney in the 1880s and 1890s. His preferred game was three-card monte, a fast paced short con that could easily be swept away at the first sign of trouble. Monte involves placing three cards face down and betting on finding the target card, often the Queen of Hearts.
...it is not possible to get a man to indulge in play for high stakes unless he has first been impressed favouably by the men who invite hin to do so.
Henry took advantage of busy social occasions, such as race meetings and shows, where there were plenty of people around to target. Henry was well-known to Police as he was regularly arrested and spent short stints in gaol. This photo is from a 3-month spell in Bathurst Gaol where he was convicted for betting at an unlawful game in a public place.