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John Birrell J.P. Obituary (Sydney Morning Herald 23 Feb 1874 p5):
This gentlemen died at his residence, Avoca Villa on Saturday morning. Mr Birrell has been actively engaged in business in Sydney for over a quarter of a century, and during nearly the whole of that time he was a liberal contributor to the public charities of the city.
He was elected first Mayor of Waverley on the extension of the Municipalities Act to the suburbs and was made a magistrate of the territory on the expiry of his office.. Up to within the last twelve months, Mr Birrell was among the most regular attendants to his Magisterial duties and took an active part on the Committee of the Randwick Destitute Children's Asylum.
His strict commercial integrity was known and acknowledged by a large section of the community with whom he was brought into contact, and his generous and benevolent disposition will cause him to be missed by numbers of persons whose needy state he often alleviated, and others whom he assisted in their start in life.