Brian Birchall was born in Newcastle, N.S.W., in 1941. He, and his elder brother, Sydney, were raised by their mother, after their father died only three weeks after Brian’s birth. He did not do well at school and, after leaving school, worked for several years as a telephone technician. During this time he studied for his Leaving Certificate at Evening College which then enabled him to study philosophy at Newcastle University under several prominent Andersonians, including John Anderson’s son, Sandy.
After completing his B.A., he went on to Sydney University where he gained a PhD under D.M. Armstrong in 1971. Following this, he gained a position as a lecturer in the philosophy department at the University of New England at Armidale in 1972 where he remained until his retirement in 1995.
During most of the 1970’s, Birchall was a committed Andersonian, but during the 1980’s he moved away from Andersonianism and developed a distinctive philosophical perspective which he described as Absolute Idealism. At this time, he also stopped producing ‘academic writing’ and began to write a number of conceptual sketches or ideograms. These ideograms were often only between 500 and 1,000 words in length, although they touched on a number of important aspects of his own philosophical position.
Following his retirement, he lived for a few years in Woolgoolga, and then Newcastle, Brisbane, and Melbourne, before ill health forced him into a nursing home in Sydney. He died in 2010.