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Australasian Horse Books Home

Reginald Ottley (1909 - 1985) was born in London. He left London at the age of fourteen to go to sea, and after travelling the world working as a deck boy, cook and fireman’s peggy, settled in Australia in 1924. There he worked on a grazing property in New South Wales, which he used as the background for his books. Although he did move to Fiji to manage a large cattle station, he returned to Sydney after the start of the Second World War. He was drafted to the Remount Squadron, and supervised the breaking in of 5000 horses (after which writing must have seemed like a walk in the park). During the 1960s he moved again, living and writing in England and Ireland before he returned to Australia in 1970.

Finding the books: most of the books were published in England as well as in Australia, so are reasonably easy to find.

Links and sources
Reginald Leslie Ottley by Belle Alderman (Reading Time, no. 95, April 1995)

Reginald Ottley

T Werner Laurie, London, 1961

Bibliography - horse stories only

By the Sandhills of Yamboorah
André  Deutsch, London, 1965, illus Clyde Pearson
As Boy Alone, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1966
Armada, London, 1971
Macmillan, Melbourne, 1988
Queensland University Press, 2003

Set on a cattle station: the boy hero is alone apart from his dog
and her puppy, but Kanga, the dog man, wants to take Rags
and train him. The boy has to deal with hardships and dangers,
but wonders only if he can keep the puppy.

The Roan Colt of Yamboorah
André Deutsch, London, 1966, illus David Perry
as The Roan Colt, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1967
Armada, London, pb, 1971

The boy likes his life on the Yamboorah cattle-station well enough - he has his dog
Rags, but he can’t see why he’s given a saddle when he can’t ride. He learns to
ride, and starts to become a cattle man. Then he finds a lame roan colt which he
is told must be culled, but he is desperate to save it.


By the Sandhills of Yamboorah
The Roan Colt of Yamboorah
Rain Comes to Yamboorah

Rain Comes to Yamboorah
André Deutsch, London, 1967, jacket Jillian Willett, 128 pp.
Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1968

Kanga cured Roany’s hoof, and at last he could ride again, but there was a terrible drought
afflicting the country.

Brumbie Dust: A Selection of Stories
Collins, London, 1969
Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1969

A Word About Horses
Collins, London, 1973

“These stories give a vivid insight into a vast country of great contrasts. There are men like
Bog-eye Clancy, the rabbit trapper; and the eccentric “hatter” with his curious collection of pets.
There are kangaroo hunts, camel hunts and even an hilarious Outback cricket match.”

Mum’s Place
Collins, London, 1974

Black Sorrow
Hutchinson, Melbourne, 1980, illus John van Loon
Beaver, New South Wales, 1989

“15 year old Jody Windum has been crippled as a reslut of a ar accident in which her mother was killed. She

is able to walk with the aid of callipers, but she can no longer ride her beloved horses and help with the

mustering on her father’s property. Her life takes on a new meaning, however, when her father buys a

brumby stallion for the rode. The horse, which has been cruelly treated, is fierce and untameable and only

Jody can pacify him. A bond develops between the two, and when a wild bull escapes, it is Black Sorrow who

saves Jody’s life.”

Other books

Collins, London, 1968

The Bates Family
Collins, London, 1969

Jim Grey of Moonbah
Collins, London, 1970

The War on William Street
Collins, London, 1974

No More Tomorrow
Collins, London, 1972