- 1937-1978 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1 tube and 54 oversize folders (1793 plans)
Name of creator
James Peter Birrell was born in Melbourne on the 24 October 1928. He was educated at the Melbourne Technical College (1945-1949) while working for the Victorian State Works Department (1947), for R.G. Warren (1948) and the Commonwealth Works Department (1948-1950). He transferred into a fourth year course in the School of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. Following his graduation in 1950, he returned to the Commonwealth Works Department and worked for them in Melbourne, Canberra and Darwin. He was appointed Architect in charge of the Architectural Branch in the Brisbane City Council (1955-1961). He resigned to become Staff Architect to the University of Queensland (1961-1966). He commenced his own practice in 1966, with offices at various times in Brisbane, Townsville, Port Moresby, and Maroochydore with various partners (including Lorant Kulley, Philip Conn, Richard Stringer and Lindsay Mack). He died on 20 September 2019, aged 90.
Name of creator
James Birrell commenced his own practice in 1966 after resigning from his position as Architect with the University of Queensland. At this time he also acquired the firm of Scorer and Scorer, which formed the basis of his first jobs. One of those jobs was the Agrictulture and Entomology Buidling at University of Queensland a Scorer and Scorer commission from the Co-ordinator General of the Queensland Government's Department of Works. James Birrell & Partners had offices at various times in Brisbane, Townsville, Port Moresby, and Maroochydore with various partners (including Lorant Kulley, Philip Conn, Richard Stringer and Lindsay Mack). Birrell wound the business up in 1997.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Architectural drawings by James Birrell from his time as a student at Melbourne University, as a fourth year student in 1950 and fifth year in 1951. Drawings from work with the Commonwealth Department of Works in Melbourne (1948-1951, and 1954), Canberra (1952-1953); and Darwin (1954-1955). Drawings of buildings designed by Birrell while employed as an Architect in charge of the drawing office at the Brisbane City Council (1955-1961). Drawings designed by Birrell while employed as the University Architect for the University of Queensland (1 July 1961 to approx. 30 March 1966). Drawings done for buildings which were private commissions (1948-1966). Drawings while practicing in his firm, James Birrell and Partners (1966-1970) as well as drawings for buildings that were not built.
From his book A life in Architecture : Beyond the ugliness, James Birrell notes on pages 71-72 "The University was vested as property of the State Government and came under the control of the Co-Ordinator General of Public Works. The university was thus a tenant of the Co-Ordinator General who had control over all work".
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Original order retained where possible.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Access governed by responsible Commonwealth, State and Local Government Agency. Unrestricted access to plans from private practices.
Conditions governing reproduction
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Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Oversize folders 1-49 and 58-62, Tube 1
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Created, Linda Justo, 07-Jan-2021
Birrell, J. (2013). A life in architecture : beyond the ugliness. University of Queensland Press.