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James Birrell Archive

Award-winning Australian architect James Birrell, born in Melbourne in 1928, grew up in Airport West and attended Essendon State High School. Graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture from Melbourne University in 1951, he moved to Queensland in 1955 and was appointed staff architect to the University of Queensland in 1961.
Birrell assisted in the Stephenson Plan development for James Cook University’s Townsville Campus (see James Cook University Site Plans Archive). He was responsible for the design of University Hall, Humanities II and the first stage of the Townsville campus library (officially named the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library on 21 May 2008). He was also responsible for a number of important Brisbane buildings including the Wickham Terrace car park, the Centenary Pool complex and the J. D. Story Building at the University of Queensland. James Birrell's distinguished career as an architect and town planner was recognised by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 2005 when he was awarded the prestigious RAIA Gold Medal.
Birrell admired the work of Walter Burley Griffin and wrote a biography of him in 1964.
The collection consists of: photographs; building plans; exhibition material; the RAIA 2005 Gold Medal Winner booklet; two CDs containing PowerPoint presentations to accompany addresses given by Birrell in Townsville and Cairns in 2005; and a third CD of photographs of JCU Townsville campus buildings taken when Birrell visited on 29 August 2005.

Archive Location: 404M, Mabo Library Reading Room Plan Cabinet Drawers 10 and 11.

Detailed Listing

BIR/1 (CD) The RAIA presents James Birrell LFRAIA: the Townsville Years. A PowerPoint presentation to accompany an address delivered by James Birrell in Townsville in August 2005. Consists chiefly of photographs of buildings at JCU Townsville, including the Library (Stage 1), University Hall and Humanities II.
BIR/2 (CD) The RAIA presents the 2005 Gold Medal winner James Birrell LFRAIA. A PowerPoint presentation to accompany an address by James Birrell delivered in Cairns in August 2005. Consists chiefly of photographs of buildings with which James Birrell has been associated in Townsville, Brisbane and elsewhere.
BIR/3 (CD) Photographs of buildings on JCU Townsville campus, taken 29.08.05
BIR/4 Set of various Building Plans for the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library including a complete set of stage II working drawings (21 plans), various miscellaneous library plans (16 plans), and the Stephenson Plan.
BIR/5 Set of 16 exhibition posters featuring photographs of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library building during various stages of its development. (There are photographs missing from four of the posters).
BIR/6 Loose professional photographs including photographs of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library in various stages of construction (interiors and exteriors), and the Queen’s visit (1970) - Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip and Princess Ann.
BIR/7 Eddie Koiki Mabo Library exhibition material including pamphlets and clippings.
BIR/8 Interview with James Birrell dated 20/0/95 (on magnetic tape).
BIR/9 RAIA 2005 Gold Medal Winner: James Peter Birrell booklet which showcases his architectural achievements.