Susanna De Vries writes about Nell Tritton


A story about Brisbane’s first female cadet journalist, champion rally car driver and intrepid international adventurer has captured the attention of Jubilee client, historian and author Susanna De Vries.

De Vries, well known for her previous books focusing on Australian artists and biographies of outstanding Australian women, has released her latest book Nell.

The book tells the story of Nell Tritton, born in 1899 and heiress to the old Tritton’s furniture store on George St, Brisbane. After a family tragedy Nell was not content to travel the path expected of young girls of her time and wanted to live life to the full.

She travelled overseas, settling in Paris, wrote short stories and eventually married former Russian prime minister Alexander Kerensky. This was the start of another adventure that included Nell using her rally driving skills to save her husband from Stalin’s assassins in a car chase through Montparnasse as the Germans invaded Paris.

Without giving too much of Nell’s story away, she and Kerensky returned to Australia and settled in her parents’ historic home Elderslie in Clayfield, Brisbane, in the mid 1940s. The house has since been relocated to Pullenvale.

For De Vries, the attraction to Nell’s story was too strong to ignore. “I loved Nell’s passion for Paris because that is where I studied art history and I lived on the same street as Nell lived in so I actually feel very close to her,” De Vries said. “My great friend bought her house and Lavinia Tritton gave me some family information. I thought the history of the Trittons was very interesting for Brisbane people as (the store) was here long before Myers or David Jones. Everybody seemed to buy all of their furniture there. I (also) had written a book on the history of Brisbane and so I thought this book on Nell combined all of the things that really interested me.”

For De Vries, Nell is the last biography of Australian women she will write. “I am now updating my book on impressionist artists and writing a new book on international women artists,” De Vries said. “My Jubilee carers make it possible for me to work and so I am still writing books.”

Nell can be ordered at local book shops and the e-book is available on Amazon. Or purchase a signed copy of the book at




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