Ottley was born at Goroka in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. He has written and illustrated children's books, including many children's information books, and has also worked as a stockman, landscape gardener and creative artist. Ottley's art has been exhibited in Australia and Europe. A classical guitarist and composer, Ottley has studied art and music.
For information about this author's works for children, particularly foreign editions not yet included in AustLit, see Australian Children's Books by Marcie Muir and Kerry White (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1992-2003).
'Once there was a boy who had to leave home ... and find another. In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket. In his teacup he held some earth from where he used to play. This is one boys story of leaving his homeland, surviving a long journey by sea ... and finding a safe, new place to call home.' (Publication summary)