Caesar ("Ted") Otway 1864-1942

Born: 15 Dec 1864
Died: 17 Jun 1942 Papanui, Christchurch, N.Z.
Father:Caesar Hastings Otway
Mother:Julia Seton
Updated: 03 Oct 1996


As Charlie and Ted were great pals, it is probably only natural that Ted, to some extent, should be influenced by his older brother and take up a surveying career.

He qualified as a surveyor on 20th September 1898 after having spent a number of years as a survey cadet and assistant; for 18 months he assisted his brother Charlie, and then was employed on Auckland City Council surveys for a further 18 months. He was automaticallv licensed in April 1899 and in May 1901 (following the passing of the 1900 Legislation). Unlike Charlie, he did apply for registration in 1928.

Most of his surveying career was spent in Southland and he carried out many surveys with D. MacPherson and T.W. Preston in the remote area N.W. of Tuatapere, as well as early traversing of the Wairawahiri River, Waitutu River, Crombie Valley Road, Main Coast Road. Coast traverse, Lake Poteritere, and sections in Lillburn and Alton Survey Districts from the year 1900. The Department of Lands and Survey's field book register discloses that several field books were issued to him and consequently he carried out many surveys in the Southland Province, including part of the Edendale Settlement, Town of Lowther, GreenhilIs town, and Orawia Valley Road.

A Reserve in the Lillburn Survey District, and part of the Rowallan State Forest, was pegged by Caesar in 1921. The Reserve of slightly over 22 acres is clearly shown in his Field Book and from the plan a hut is shown in the clearing which is situated at the intersection of the Mariwera Stream and the east branch of the Rowallan Burn. The area is signposted as Otway's Clearing and vehicle access is possible. The Clearing is shown on some obsolete maps which are stored in the Hocken Library, Otago University.

Ted was the District Surveyor responsible for the standard survey control of the Invercargill City which was carried out in the 1930's and several large plans have his signature.

The last field book was issued to him on 28th September 1928 but plotting the survey information on the standard plans would not have been completed and plans drawn until the 1930's. From all accounts, Ted's field notes were very methodical and neatly set out and occupation clearly labelled in relation to survey marks. We believe Ted owned a farm in the Southland area.

Ted. who was known as a fine man. did not marry until late in life; he and Isabel (Aunt "Belle") had no children. He died at Papanui. Christchurch, on 17th June. 1942.

A poem composed by a schoolteacher, Alan Templeton. aptly describes the surveyors' camp and conditions at that time:-

"OTWAY'S CAMP" Beneath a patch Of sodden thatch The latest cam p at Otway's stands, And seems to draw The morning thaw From all the neighb'ring Forest Lands; The door is always wide to greet The bushmen who perchance should stray Along that half-forgotten way, Where man and comfort never meet Unless there's fire to dry his feet, A sleeping bag, a makeshift seat, And shelter spread above his head. At Otway 's camp The bunk is damp Till one has stayed a night or two, The walls of log Surround a bog Until the floor has heated through, The log fires burning through the night Make Otway's phantom rise and fall Upon the musty, cobwebbed wall, Inspiring me the while I write These verses with their merit slight Within the flutt'ring ring of light Of slushy lamp at Otway's camp. At time 1 hear With straining ear The tiny sounds of water's talk, As, round the turn Rowallan Burn Goes wand'ring down towards the fork, And passes through an op en space Bestrewn with whitened bones and skulls And partly disassembled hulls, That are the now remaining trace Of deer that lost their final race, Where yet with all unconscious grace Their relations run to beat the gun.

At Otway's camp My muscles cramp When I am smoking next the fire, And night has tossed A heavy frost Upon that bush-encircled mire, but still towards the morn I dream Of times our parents only knew, When Southland's chief surveying crew, With Otway in command supreme Of tools and men and pack-horse team, Set out along that win in stream On the lengthy tramp to Otway's camp. The water forked When all had walked A weary way within its sight There Otway said To those ahead: "Hold on! We're camping here tonight." When, after sleep, he chose to stay The building crew to action sprung, And hammers, saws and axes rung From peep of dawn till close of day, While horses throu~h the blackish clay, Were straining harJ before the sleigh So to mobilise their camp supplies. Round Otway's camp With spades and tr amp The drains were etched upon the silt, A chosen few Were sent to hew The timber for the huts they built, While workmen of a lesser class Were toiling on the sledging tracks To broaden them with spade and axe, So Otway's bed, aglint with brass, And further bulk had room to pass To where a gang was sowing grass For the drafts to champ at Otway's camp.

The camp complete. With itching feet The men then turned towards the hills That tufts of cloud May partly shroud When stormy weather tires and stills. To ever,'onc the land was new, No whiteman's foot had ever trod

Those ways within the reign of God And yet they bravely struggled through The hardships and the sickness too. And carried on as such men do, Till their tapes had spanned that forest land. At Otway's camp The loading ramp Has crumbled where the pack-horse stood, Where huts have been The grass is green Upon the mounds of mould'ring wood. A rusted bed alone is found To halt the traveller's roving gaze And bring him thoughts of yesterdays, When in that happy camping ground The whisky flask was handed round, While merry voices joined the sound Of the music's vamp at Otway's camp.

ID: 22   Generated by GedTree on 27 Aug 2002

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