When ‘Harry Leon Crawford,’ a Stanmore hotel cleaner, was caught and accused with the murder of his wife, it was discovered that he was actually Eugenia Falleni (often spelled Eugeni), a woman and mother who had been passing herself off as a male since 1899.
Falleni married Annie Birkett, a widow, in 1913 as ‘Harry Crawford.’ Birkett vanished four years later, shortly after telling a relative that she had discovered “something spectacular about Harry.” Crawford told her neighbours she had gone on a date with a plumber.
Birkett’s young boy, who had stayed in Crawford’s custody, informed an aunt in 1919 about his alcoholic stepfather attempting to kill him. The aunt called the cops. When eventually convinced of Falleni’s true gender, ‘Crawford’s’ startled second wife said, “A burnt body found in Lane Cove in 1917 was later recognised as Birkett’s.” I always wondered why he was so painfully shy …”
Falleni is dressed in masculine attire in this shot, which was taken on the day of her arrest. The negative was discovered in a paper sleeve with the words ‘Falleni Man/Woman’ written on it. It’s also possible that Falleni was forced to pose in a suit for the shot.