Caesar Hastings Otway

Caesar Hastings Otway 1833-1917

Born: 05 Nov 1833 Dublin
Died: 06 Nov 1917 Auckland, New Zealand
Father:John Hastings Otway
Mother:Mary Hill
Spouse:Julia Seton
Married: 04 Sep 1858
Children:Loftus Hastings Otway, Charles Caesar Otway, Caesar ("Ted") Otway, George Sidney Otway, Arthur Ernest Otway, Julia Mary Otway, Hugh Hill Otway
Education:Trinity College, Dublin
Updated: 12 Mar 1999


Caesar Hastings was born in Dublin. On the 4th September, 1858, he married Julia Seton, daughter of Charles Seton. They emigrated to New Zealand in July 1864 aboard the "Surat".

The "Surat" sailed from the Downs, London, on 20th June 1864, but if they were then living in Ireland, in order to reach London, Caesar and Julia would have needed to cross the Irish Sea, probably to Liverpool and then journey by rail to London. Remembering that the then modes of travel were not what we know and enjoy today the journey with two boys aged 3 and 2 and a third child expected (Caesar - "Ted" - was born in December of that year) could not have been easy. Caesar's 21 year old brother, John Hastings (junior) accompanied them on the voyage but Julia would have needed to cope with the discomforts and inconveniences such a voyage would hold for a young farnily. As an instance, fresh water for washing purposes would not have been available. However, this voyage of the "Surat” was not as heartbreaking and difficult as some similar immigrant voyages, notably the "Ganges" from Queenstown, Southern Ireland in November 1864 - the hardships endured on that voyage resulted in no less than 56 deaths (54 being children) out of a total passenger complement of 474, during the voyage.

In 1864, following the cessation of the Waikato Wars, the New Zealand Authorities were actively engaged in promoting emigration to New Zealand of suitable persons from the British Isles and although we can never be sure of the precise emigration reasons, the apparent advantages of the young Colony must have had its attractions for Caesar and Julia. Of the actual voyage out, the "Daily Southern Cross" of 5th October, 1864, reports:


"We announced in yesterday's issue the arrival of the Surat from London and we now give particulars of her passenger list, etc. The Surat is a fine clipper ship of 1,000 tons register, commanded by Captain Dunlop, a gentleman who appears to have earned the respect and good wishes of nearly all the passengers on board. Below we publish a copy of the testimonial which has been presented to him by the passengers on board.

‘The Surat left the Downs on the 20th June and had to beat down channel with a strong westerly wind. The Lizard disappeared on the 27th. Passed outside Cape de Verd Islands, experiencing light N.E. trades, and crossed the equator on the 23rd July. The SE. trades were also very poor. The meridian of the Cape of Good Hope was made on the 20th August, and from thence to the Snares very disagreeable weather was experienced, continual rain prevailing throughout. She ran down her easting between 48 and 49 degrees S., and sighted the Snares on the 23rd September, 88 days from the Lizard. Came south about, and had light winds on the coast.

The following vessels were spoken and signalled during the voyage:-June 29th, P. and 0. Company's barque Haddington, bound to Born Bay in lat. 45.31 N., long. 10.51 W.,July 30th. Wellesley, from Melbourne to London, 62 days out, in lat. 12.28 5., long. 32.27 W., August 3rd, barque Lizzie Jamieson, from Swansea to Valparaiso, in lat. 19.37 5., long. 33.26W., August 14th, ship Bolton Abbey, from Liverpool to Calcutta, 47 days out with the loss of upper maintopyard, in lat. 40.46 5.,long. 15. E.’

The Surat brings a large cargo of general merchandise, which we published yesterday. and 112 passengers. The following is a list of their names:-

PASSENGERS Cabin: - Here follows a list of 15 passengers including the Otways. Second Class:- Here follows a list of 97 passengers.


The following testimonial, accompanied with a purse and a handsome silver dinner and dessert service was presented to Captain Dunlop on the 27th September:-


We the undersigned passengers on board the ship Surat, from London to Auckland, wish to testify to Captain Dunlop our admiration of his nautical ability as a commander. and our gratitude for the intense anxiety he has manifested to afford us the greatest comfort in every way, and also recreation of various kinds so Joyous and so highly conducive to our health and happiness: his extreme benevolence, generosity and hospitality, more especially to those who have suffered from sickness and accident from various causes administering to their necessities, and ameliorating their sufferings, cheering them when borne down by sorrow: all of which has tended to their speedy restoration to health and activity.

We therefore wish to present him some token of our esteem that he and his family may retain in remembrance of our gratitude: and our prayer is that his years may be many, happy and prosperous and that his declining years may be calm and serene.

We, therefore, attach our names as under with all good wishes to him and his family, and hope he will accept this slight mark our extreme gratitude. "Signed by upwards of sixty passengers."

Captain Dunlop replied in suitable terms, thanking the passengers for the valuable set of plate they had presented to him.

The iron-clad "Surat", on a later voyage to New Zealand, under charter to the N.Z. Shipping Co. Ltd., was wrecked at the Catlins River mouth, Otago, on New Year's Day 1874. The figurehead of the "Surat", an admirably carved head of a woman, was later renovated and placed in the Orago Early Settlers Museum.

Little is known about the family's early days in Auckland, but following the usual pattern of those times, the family may have been accommodated in the former Army Barracks, at Onehunga, which were utilised by many immigrants as a type of transit camp.

At that time the population of the entire Auckland Province was in the vicinity of 36,000 and both Goveniment and Provincial financial resources were stretched to the mattirnurn not only by immigration but also due to the cost of the Waikato War. An important part of Auckland was then the walled Albert Barracks (now the site of Albert Park):Partington's Mill (off Karangahape Road and near Symonds Street) had been built only 14 years and provided most of the town's flour (a 41b loaf of bread sold for lid to 1/- - 10 cents): the Auckland Domain was still covered with swamp and flax while the first bridge from Onehunga to Mangere was still 10 years away.

We do know that the family eventually settled at Cornwallis, on the Manukau Harbour, within sight of the Manukau Heads where the steam corvette "H.M.S. Orpheus" was wrecked on 7th February 1863, with the loss of 189 lives (New Zealand's worst sea disaster). It appears that the family, of necessity. lived largely "off the land" and their monetary income was meagre includingJulia's small income from Cornish tin mines, so that times were very tough to say the least. Children's clothing was frequently made from flour bags. While most of the children's early schooling was from their parents, in later times Loftus and Charles rode to school, on a bullock, across the mudflats. Caesar held an M.A. degree and Julia had good educational qualifications which could possibly only be expected as her later schooling was at a girls' boarding school on the Rhine. She spoke fluent German and French and later, in New Zealand, took up a teaching career for necessary monetary measures: at one time she taught at Thames. Caesar, apparently, could not find employment to suit in the young Colony, and spent considerable time in Australia. Later, the family lived at Onehunga and then Kipling Avenue, Epsom (Auckland) where Caesar died on 6th Nov 1917. His will was administered by a solicitor on 31 Jan 1919. The value was £1,786.8.3d.

The Otway Family in New Zealand by Clive S. Otway - 9/12/1982

ID: 16   Generated by GedTree on 28 Nov 2002

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