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Eugenia Falleni, alias Harry Crawford, Mugshot, 1920

Special Photograph no. 234. When 'Harry Leon Crawford', hotel cleaner of Stanmore was arrested and charged with wife murder he was revealed to be in fact EugeniaFalleni (sometimes spelt as Eugeni), a woman and mother, who had been passing as a man since 1899.

This is one of the more interesting characters documented in various archives.

In 1913, as 'Harry Crawford', Falleni had married thewidow Annie Birkett. Four years later, shortly after she announced to a relative that she had found out 'something amazing about Harry', Birkett disappeared. Crawford told neighbours that she had run off with a plumber. In 1919 Birkett'syoung son, who had remained in Crawford's custody, told an aunt of attempts made on his life by his drunken stepfather. The aunt contacted police. A charred body which had been found in Lane Cove in 1917 was belatedly identified as Birkett's. 'Crawford's'astonished second wife, when finally convinced of Falleni's true gender remarked, "I always wondered why he was so painfully shy ...".

The photograph shown here shows Falleni in male clothing, probably on the day of her arrest. The negative was found in a paper sleeve inscribed 'Falleni Man/Woman'. It is also possiblethat Falleni was made to dress in a man's suit for the photograph.

Titled “EugeniaFalleni, alias Harry Crawford, special photograph number 234, Central Police Station Sydney, 1920.”.Source: Sydney Living Museum (Justice & Police Museum).

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