Ottley, Reginald

About the author

Reginald Ottley (1909–85) 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 World War II. 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)


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

Bibliography (pony books only)


T Werner Laurie, London, 1961

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 dogand her puppy, but Kanga, the dog man, wants to take Ragsand 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.

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

The blurb:
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

The blurb:
15-year-old Jody Windum has been crippled as a result 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 rodeo. 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.”


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