Guide to the Papers of Ninette Dutton [MSS 088]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Ninette Dutton
Manuscript Number MSS 088
Last Updated June 2022
Extent 3 boxes

Special Collections, UNSW Canberra

Abstract Manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks

Date range


Collection Subject Type 


Scope and Content

This collection contains notebooks, manuscripts and typescripts of articles and other writings by Ninette Dutton, many relating to her interest in botany and gardening.

Biographical Note 

Daughter of Leonard Trott, a dentist, and his wife Clarice Webb, Ninette Dutton was educated at Creveen and later at Woodlands, before studying Social Science at the University of Adelaide. She joined the WAAF in 1942 as a driver. In 1944 she married the writer Geoffrey Dutton, and their home, when they were not travelling, was "Anlaby", the Dutton's family property at Kapunda and later at Piers Hill, a property near Angaston. They had three children.

After the war Dutton travelled to Oxford with her husband, and worked in the Botany Library. She also studied at the Ruskin School of Art. In the following years she travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, Africa, America and the Middle East, and drove with her husband from London to Colombo in 1951 and from Capetown to Cairo, Tangier and London in 1953. She also travelled in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

Dutton was an accomplished artist and enameller, and studied at several Art Schools including those in Leeds and Hammersmith (London). In 1962 she spent some time in Manhattan, Kansas, and studied enamelling at the Art School there. She then worked as a professional enameller. She also studied with enamellers in London, Berlin and Bucharest. Dutton had exhibitions in all states of Australia and is represented in private collections in England, France and Russia as well as the South Australian Art Gallery.

While living in London in the late 1940s Dutton wrote stories for children, which were broadcast on the BBC's Listen with Mother programme. As well as the works listed on AustLit Dutton also published a number of non-fiction works; Beautiful Art of Enamelling (1966), What's for Breakfast (1971), Portrait of a Year (1976), Wildflower Journeys (1985), Presents from your Garden (1986), An Australian Gardener's Notebook (1988), An Australian Wildflower Diary (1982) and A Passionate Gardener Writes of Nature, Beauty and Seasons (1990). As the 'Passionate Gardener' she conducted a regular feature column in the Adelaide Advertiser, and was a regular broadcaster for the ABC for some years on gardening subjects and wildflowers. She was a member of the Arts Grants Advisory Committee for some years, a Trustee of the Board of Carrick Hill and Chairman of its Garden Committee.

Dutton's marriage to Geoffrey Dutton ended in the early 1980s. Dutton continued to live and write in South Australia until 1997. She then moved to Canberra for five years and finally to Leura in the Blue Mountains.

Reference: Austlit -


Administrative Information 

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Copying of material for private study and research is approved

Preferred Citation

Papers of Ninette Dutton, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 88, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired in 1988

Related Material

Further papers of Ninette Dutton are held by the National Library of Australia at MS 10111


Subject Keywords 


Women writers - Australia - Archives

Plants in literature

Personal Names

Ninette Dutton, 1923-2007



Botanical artists


Container List 

Box 1

Typescripts, notebooks

Folder 1 

Blue notebook, handwritten

Folder 2

Annotated typescripts of ‘The Fear’, ‘The Snake’, ‘The Black Stone’, ‘Going to Stay’, ‘Why Did This Happen to Me?’, and ‘Neighbours’

Folder 3

Annotated typescripts of ‘Why Did This Happen to Me?’, ‘A Day to Remember’, ‘A Well-Contented Man’, ‘Such a Night’ and ‘One Summer’.

Red exercise book, handwritten

Folder 4

Annotated typescript of ‘Going to Stay’

Folder 5

Typescript - ‘Writing About Children’

Annotated typescripts of ‘The Snake’, ‘The Black Stone’, ‘The Fear’, ‘A Well-Contented Man’, and ‘A Day to Remember’

Folder 6

Annotated typescripts of ‘Why Did This Happen to Me?’ (x2), ‘One Summer’, ‘The Black Stone’, ‘Going to Stay’, ‘Why Did This Happen to Me?’, and ‘A Well-Contented Man’ (x2), ‘The Fear’

Annotated typescript - Review of Sydney Parkinson, artist of Cook’s End Voyage

Undated correspondence from Michele Field at The Sydney Morning Herald

Folder 7

Four exercise books of handwritten notes

Folder 8

Four exercise books of handwritten notes

Folder 9

Four exercise books of handwritten notes


Box 2

Notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts

Folder 10

Exercise book of handwritten notes

Folder 11

Three exercise books of handwritten notes                    

Folder 12

Annotated typescript of Probabilities

Folder 13

Manuscript of ‘Three Women’, ‘Coincidences’, ‘Country Life’, ‘Correa’, “Lilies of various kinds’, ‘One perfect day’, ‘Passionfruit’, ‘Piece number 3 Heaths’, ‘Banksias’, ‘Bursaria Spinosa’, ‘A prize winning garden’

Folder 14

Annotated typescript about flowers

Folder 15

Annotated typescript about flowers

Folder 16

Four exercise books, handwritten

Folder 17

Manuscript of ‘Identity’


Box 3

Manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks

Folder 18

Miscellaneous manuscripts and typescripts regarding flowers, herbs, plant life

Folder 19

Miscellaneous manuscripts and typescripts regarding herbs

Folder 20

Miscellaneous typescripts regarding preserving flowers/plants

Folder 21

Miscellaneous typescripts regarding herbs

Folder 22

Exercise book of handwritten notes and miscellaneous manuscripts regarding plants

Folder 23

Miscellaneous manuscripts regarding plants