National Library of Australia

Frank Fahy’s underworld scrapbook

Frank Fahy (1896–1978)Scrapbook of an undercover policeman 1920–1952

scrapbook containing newscuttings and photographs; 35.0 x 28.0cm

ML MSS 7198

Presented by Joyce Cardinaels, December 2001

Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Scrapbook of an undercover policeman 1920–1952

Within the pages of this fascinating but disturbing scrapbook book lie the names, photographs and descriptions of some of Sydney’s most notorious criminals.

The book belonged to Sergeant Frank Fahy (1896–1978), Sydney CIB’s first undercover police officer.

Fahy’s book includes details on convicted robber Darcy Dugan and infamous Sydney madam Matilda Devine, along with information on sundry thieves, safe blowers and even an elderly male cross-dresser.

Fahy’s clandestine career began in 1920, when his unlikely police-officer looks (he was tall and thin) attracted the attention of his superiors.

For the next 22 years, Fahy spied on the underworld. He was at times a vagrant, labourer, fruit-seller and odd-job man. His often-dangerous work led to the arrests of many murderers, burglars and gaol escapees.

In 1942, Fahy was promoted to the head of an intelligence section in the Military Police. He retired from the force in 1953.