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Biographical entry Birrell, John Henry Winter (1924 - 2003)


29 December 1924
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
25 March 2003


John Birrell was police surgeon 1957-1977. He campaigned for road safety and was involved in the introduction of seatbelt laws and the blood alcohol limit of 0.05 per cent in Victoria.



1942 - 1943
Career position - Served in the Australian Imperial Force
1952 - 1956
Career position - Senior Lecturer at Monash University, Victoria
1952 - 1956
Career position - Lecturer in Pathology at the University of Melbourne
1956 - 1957
Career position - Assistant Coroner's Pathologist
1957 - 1977
Career position - Police Surgeon in Victoria
1967 - 1977
Career position - Member of the International Committee for Alcohol and Traffic Safety
Career position - Chairman of the 7th Conference on Alcohol and traffic Safety in Melbourne
Award - Companion of the Imperial Service Order (ISO)
Award - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) received

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Biographical cuttings on Dr John Henry Winter Birrell, police surgeon, Cuttings Files BIOG; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Published resources


  • Birrell, J. H. W., Twenty Years as a Police Surgeon, Brolga Publishing, Ringwood, 2004, 104 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Birrell, J., 'Mollison, Crawford Henry (1863-1949), Medical and Forensic Pathologist', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 10, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986, pp. 540-541. Also available at Details

Newspaper Articles

  • Gibb, Donald, 'Obituary: John Henry Winter Birrell, OAM, Former police surgeon, general practitioner', The Age, 4 April 2003. Details

Online Resources

Ailie Smith