Sunday, March 24, 2013


Well it's a long time since I wrote on this page - but I guess theres not many days when I don't think about Otematata Station.

I always seem to run into people who have been there, or know someone else that has.

When we went down to the Otematata Station Centennial - I took a photo of the side of the house where we lived and I was amazed to see the rose that I remembered from my childhood still there. It was a pink rose and was planted outside Mr Camerons bedroom window.


The rose had always been there - when I asked Malcolm about it he said "it had been there forever"
I remember playing in the sandpit beside the dairy and putting the roses on my sandcastles.

Just recently the New Zealand Gardener had an article on growing roses from cuttings - so the idea was born!
I would take some cuttings and see if I could grow them.We were travelling down to Twizel and Otematata for the Dam Dwellers Reunion so I rang Mandy and asked if I could take some cuttings.
I was gobsmacked when she said "take the whole bush".

So now in Culverden we have the old Otematata Station Rose - looking a bit worse for wear but still alive!
Just to be on the safe side I also took some cuttings and some of them are beginning to shoot - I am sooo excited!

So I will keep you posted on the Otematata Station rose and its progress - it must be over 65 years old!!!

Just before I finish this post - thank you to all the people who have commented to me on the write - up on the Centennial.I am amazed at the number of people who have read it - some complete strangers who have emailed me and also made comments.

Now keep an eye on this page and the Otematata Station Rose - when it flowers again I will contact the Rose Society and try to get it identified.

Take care

Tuesday, December 23, 2008




More photos and stories in the New Year.

I always remember this time at the Station - hot hot days
dust and lamb marking just before Christmas. The men having early breakfasts about 4 30 so that it wasn't too hot for the lambs.Mum would often stay up -heavens knows if she slept at all.Another memory is of the incessant baaring of the lambs which would go long into the night.

Those were the days!!

Keep well, safe and happy


Saturday, November 1, 2008

More Photos and Memories from the Cameron Centennial


Sorry that I haven't written anything for a while-now that the days are longer I seem to spend more time outside than on the computer.

I thought that I would share some photos that were either taken at the Cameron Centennial or are ones that I have inherited from Mum and Dad.


This photo is of Joe Cameron with his dogs at the Fall Muster taken I think about 1952.Those of you who have mustered on the Otematata Station will know where it is.There is also a photo of Bruce Anderson taken at the same spot.


This photo shows the shearers at Otematata Station-taken about 1910.Walter Cameron is on the left and the photo is taken outside the shearing shed on the right and the wool room on the left.
I was really interested in this photo as I thought that Sandy Lousley( my grandfather) may have been in it.He shore for many years at Otematata Station and Walter Cameron commented in Peter Newton's Book " Sixty Thousand on the Hoof"that" Sandy Lousley,Jim's father was the finest blade shearer that he had seen".

One of the things that really "bugs me" is that none of us have a clue what Sandy Lousley looks like? There are no photos of him.So anyone reading this if you know of a photo please get in touch with me.
I feel sure that some where in an old box some where in North Otago,up the Waitaki Valley there is a photo of Sandy Lousley?



These two photos are of Bill O'Donnell who was the packer at the station for many years.It was his job to load up the pack horses with food and cook for the men when they were out mustering. He was quite a character,I remember one year he arrived back at the station after Christmas with his head shaved.It certainly caused a stir-I think he may have got drunk one night but I don't know for sure-perhaps someone can tell me???

One thing I do remember-I had a pony called Billy Boy which Mr Cameron had bought for me and for some reason I decided to cut his tail.I made a real mess of it and by the time it was straightened it was quite short-Bill O'Donnell always used to tease me by saying that Billy Boy wouldn't be able to go around a corner as he didn't have enough tail to indicate which way he was going!!!!!

I was saddened many years later to hear that Bill and his brother Dave had died in a house fire at Omarama.


This last photo is of Mr Cameron,his horse Red and his dogs taken at Aviemore.

One of the great things of the Centennial at Otematata Station was catching up with people and hearing all the stories.This next one I didn't know about and was told to me by Neville Chang.

When Murray and I had our first daughter Judi-Mr Cameron was very excited and told the musterers that they should go down to the Maternity Home in the township and see Bubs(this is what he called me sometimes) daughter.

So the musterers duly did what they were told,it's funny as I can vaguely remember (some of them very embarrassed) poking their heads through the ward door.Apparently there were so many young men arriving to see "Baby Sisson" that the nurses began to wonder who the father was!!!!!!!!

Well that's all for now



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Photos and Memories at the Otematata Station Centennial

Greetings from Culverden-the place with the Big Sky

When my aunt Nona Parker from Blenheim heard that the Otematata Centennial was planned she said to me to get a photo of the old toilet.I did but unfortunately couldn't take a photo inside the old toilet and it was the inside that everyone remembered.


I have no idea when the toilet was built but it was quite unique as far as toilets go.
On the right hand side was a door and inside a toilet while on the left hand side was another door and inside there were two toilets, a large one and a small one side by side.It always reminded me of the Three Bears-a toilet for Father bear,one for Mother bear and a small one for Baby bear!!!
You can see in the photo where there are air vents in the walls.


This is a photo of the new version which was built in the 1950's.Toilet on the left, wash house in the middle, and freezer room on the right.


This is another favourite photo.It shows the side of the house and you can see the extensions over the years.

The window on the left is the sitting room and on the right is my bedroom-it's amazing that after being away for 45 years that I still think of it as my room!!
In the early 1960's a sun room was built on ,you can see this on the left.


I couldn't resist taking this photo.

Mum would everyday get down on her hands and knees and scrub the door step, as people did in those days, she always said that it was a cure for most things! However in those days the step led straight outside.

I still have a fews photos to show so until next time!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Photos and memories at the Otematata Centennial


This is a photo of the front of the old house at Otematata Station which I believe was taken in 1908.The person in the photo I think is Walter Cameron.


Back view of the same house taken at the Centennial 2008.

My father Jim Lousley started working at Otematata Station in 1931 and when he married in 1937 he and my mother lived in what was called "the green cottage" they then shifted in to another cottage which was where Mary and Joe Cameron lived when they first married.This was later replaced by a new house-which I believe is the managers house today.

Apparently the House Keeper had just left the station and Mum started getting up early in the morning and going down to the house to cook the breakfast for Mr Cameron and the musterers.Dad would wait for Malcolm to wake up,dress him then go down to the house for breakfast.

When it started to get cold,Mr Cameron said to Mum that they might as well stay,and so they did for just about 30 years!

So this was the place where I lived the first 20 years of my life and being able to look through the house again after all those years was very special.


Old store rooms-the one on the left had coal,potatoes and wheat for the hens,while the other had just about everything-nails, bolts,screws,saws and stuff to fix anything.!


This shows the "mens dining room"-it seems so much smaller-but I'm told thats often how it is-things seem so large through a childs eyes.The musterers would eat here,while we would eat in the kitchen.Mum often told the story of how she came out of the Maternity Home with me and was cooking for 17 people!


This shows the side of the house-one of the things that amazed me was there was always a pale pink rose outside Mr Camerons bedroom window.Who planted it or how it got there I don't know?
However there it was,still outside the bedroom window and I was told it was pink.


This photo is taken outside the kitchen window-a new window has been put in-the kitchen was always very dark and I suppose that is why there was a sky light.I remember Mum drying washing on a clothes rack up near the sky light-it was a like a ladder and was hauled up with a pulley.
The photo also shows quite clearly the thickness of the walls-I remember when the house was getting wired for electricity-when they took parts of the roof off it was lined with rushes or flax,no doubt to keep the house insulated.

Next week I will add some more photos.
Keep warm and dry!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Up on the tops


When I first saw this photo of Dad-I made the comment that he looked like he was on the moon!

Well after being lucky enough to get up there-I can tell you that it's pretty close to the moon-thats how it felt.


This photo is taken on top of the Hawkdun Range,where we stopped
while on out trip over Otematata Station.

In the centre of the photo you can just see the Falls Dam,so I think we are looking towards St Bathans


This photo shows the haze over the sky line-there were fires over towards Queenstown during Easter


This photo is looking right from on top of the Hawkdun Range.
On the right in the photo you can just see Mt Aspiring.The views were amazing.

In all the photos you can see the rock on the ground-which was quite hard to walk on.
Apparently it is hard on the pads of the dogs feet if they are not used to it and the horses need shoeing earlier if they have been mustering up here.

What a great trip it was-and I loved seeing the country where Dad and many others used to muster.

Thats all for now,

More photos shortly


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

4wd Trip over Otematata Station


The weather for the 4wd trip out the back was just perfect.
The above picture shows Hugh giving us details for the day.
We were all given a bag of sweets and a carton of juice -they thought of everything!

We left the Station at 10am,headed up over the Otematata saddle to the Back Yards,we then stopped briefly at the Forkes Hut and then carried on to Glen Boughie for lunch.Again everything was well thought out-bread rolls,muffins,fruit,and even Easter eggs!
We then carried on to the Hawkden Range,where we stopped to admire the views,then down the Otamatapaio Spur and back on to the main road and finished back at the Otematata Hotel at 6pm.
I understand that we did 70k's.

A marvellous trip and a great way to finish what was a fantastic weekend.


Great views and beautiful country


Showing some of the vehicles on the trip


Lunch at Glen Boughie Hut.
The drums in the picture are for shelter for the dogs.

More photos later

Tuesday, June 3, 2008



David Jones from Fielding and Noel Creighton from Waikouaiti.

David came to muster at Otematata Station about 1954,I remember his mother sending him a round cake for either his birthday or Christmas and I had never seen one before.It's amazing the things that you remember!!!
I think Noel was at the Station about 1957-he has been a successful horse trainer based at Waikouaiti for many years.


Walter Cameron from Wainui talking to Bruce Harris from Wanganui


Jennifer Williamson,Mary Cameron and Hugh Cameron


Walter Cameron,Deirdre Sisson and Ann Hore(Cameron)
I know its a revolting photo of me( and no I hadn't had too much to drink!!)but I had to put this photo in.Growing up I spent a bit of time with Ann and Walter and it was great to see them again.I usually see Walter at the Kurow Races but hadn't seen Ann for many years


Noel Creighton,John Munro and his mother Lexie Munro,who live just over the main road from Otematata Station at Rostreiver Station.

I wish now that I'd taken more photos-but it was so exciting catching up with people and I tended to forget to take the photos.

More next time on the trip out the back on the Sunday.



Monday, June 2, 2008



This photo was taken in the afternoon and shows the tables being set for the evening function.I think about 250 people attended the dinner.A lovely touch on the tables were vases filled with rose buds-a differant colour for every table-tied around every vase was the Cameron Tartan ribbon.


The Centennial Cake which was cut during the evening by Joseph and Olivia Cameron -children of Hugh and Mandy.

The evening started with drinks and nibbles at 6pm and gave everyone a chance to catch up with old friends and workmates.The Otematata Fire Brigade did a marvellous job running the Bar and keeping glasses filled etc

At 7 30 everyone was seated and welcomed by Mike Bayley who was the M C for the evening.

Hugh Cameron then spoke on the History of Otematata Station up to the present day,followed by Walter Cameron from Wainui who spoke on behalf of the other Cameron Family members.Both were amazing, humourous speakers and I found it emotional to hear both Mum and Dad being acknowledged and applauded.How they would have loved to have been there!!!

After the speeches Dinner was served and what a feast it was.

Beef,Mutton,Chicken and Ham-peas,carrots,pumpkin,broccoli,potatoes and salads.The deserts were also amazing-cheese cakes-I have never tasted nicer-fresh fruit salad,pavlova,cream and hot apple shortcake and custard followed by tea and coffee.I have a feeling that I have missed some things out? -please contact me and I will add them on!

Before I go on I must mention the wine-in fact I dont have enough words to describe it!

Anyway it came from The Ostler Vineyards,4626 Kurow-Duntroon Road,Waitaki Valley.

It was superb,well worth buying a bottle or two or three,if you want something special from the Waitaki Valley.

Next it was time for Jim Hopkins who was the guest speaker for the evening.He had everyone in fits and I wish now that I had thought to take a small tape recorder with me.Extra special were his references to
Walter Cameron's diary and the quote when he took over Otematata Station in 1908" Rode up to take possession of the property and let the rabbiters loose"

The rest of the evening was spent talking,taking photos, catching up with people and hearing funny stories-some of which I will report here at a later date.


This is a photo of the Cameron Family taken during the evening.


Some of the many musterers who have worked on Otematata Station over the years.

Next time I have some more photos of people taken at the dinner.
Please communicate with me over what I have written.

the sisson@

Thats all for now


Sunday, May 11, 2008

More people at the Cameron Centennial at Otematata Station


Ray Cleave also mustered on Otematata Station
He went on to become a successful horse trainer based at Waimate.
I remember many times having to go to the TAB and put money on for Dad when Ray's horses were starting.I even made a few $ for myself when his horse Keepsake was racing.


Gordon and Iris Paterson from Alexandra.Gordon was mustering at Otematata Station for 7 years and left in 1948.I believe that Gordon was one of the oldest people at the Centennial and that he still shoes a few horses!

He was telling me about the time when I was just a baby,Mum went in to the bedroom to pick me up and I was limp and blue around the mouth.Mum put brandy on my lip and Gordon said he swung me from side to side by my feet!!!When I suggested " so that's whats wrong with me"Gordon told me very seriously that he didn't hit my head!!!!I do remember Mum talking about it,but never took it very seriously.It was interesting to hear it from someone else who was there.

Catching up with people at the Otematata Centennial


Shirley Cameron from Mosgiel and her son Peter Cameron from Milton.Shirley's husband was Hugh Cameron,son of Walter Cameron,and uncle of Hugh and Mandy.


Walter Linwood and his wife Leone from Ashburton.Walter mustered at Otematata Station on and off for 7 to 8 years.He is the son of Billy Linwood from Kurow who also mustered on Otematata Station for many years.

I hope I report this correctly,Bruce Harris was telling me that in the early 1950's he heard that Otematata Station was paying good wages to musterers and so he rang up the Station about a job.
He spoke to Walter Cameron(known by many names eg Walter,Whiskers,WP,and the person who took over Otematata Station in 1908)and asked about a musterering job.Apparently the reply was"you can have a job as long as your bloody name isn't Bill-I've got three of the bastards!!!!
Thinking back the three Bills would be-Bill Linwood,Bill West and Bill O'Donnell who was the packer(the person who cooked for the musterers when they were out mustering)

Monday, April 28, 2008

More on Otematata Station Centennial


This is one of my favourite photos that I took-looking into the sheep pens. It reminds me of the hundreds of people who have worked in this shed over many years -just to the left of the first gate,was a little door that led into the main part of the shearing shed.Even though there have been many changes,the little door is still there.

I can just about smell those sheep!


These are the branding irons-that used to go on the sheeps back.

When Otematata Station was first taken up by the Rev.J.C.Parson Andrew in the late 1850's,he introduced the station brand-two crossed keys.These keys were said to be the symbol of the college at which he was educated in England.The story is that one key is the key to heaven-the other the key to hell!


These brands are for Aviemore Station.

Hugh Cameron took over Aviemore in 1891 and on his death in 1915
the property went to members of his family.Aviemore was run as a seperate account but the two places are run from Otematata Station.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cameron Family - 100 years at Otematata Station


I can't explain how excited I was to receive an invitation to celebrate 100 Years of the Cameron Family at Otematata Station. It was a highlight of my life!

The organizing was so well done that I feel I must mention it. Thank you Hugh, Mandy and family for all that hard work you put in. To Mary - thank you for the records that you worked so hard on.


Just a small thing - but so well done: Every name badge had a piece of Cameron tartan across the bottom of it.


Driving up to the Station, the first thing we saw was a display of vehicles used. I must admit to a tear in my eye when I saw what was known as Jimmy Lou's truck (mentioned previously). Behind this truck you can see the marquee where you collected your name badge and there was a display of photos, records, diaries, fleeces and old gear. I was delighted to see a photo of myself (which I'd never seen before) with my old pony Billy Boy. I will print this at a later date.


Hugh's helicopter - no doubt a great asset on Otematata Station


Display of Merino Rams


Entrance to the woolroom - a beautiful floral arrangment done by Mandy and a display of the stencils used on the wool bales.

After meeting lots of people, looking over the old house, and a cup of tea we went back to the hotel to get changed for the evening function.

Well thats all for now-there is lots more to follow.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Autumn is in the air - my Dad and Otematata Station memories


Over the last few days I have been sorting through numerous papers, cards and photos.

Jim Lousley (my Dad) spent most of his life in Kurow and on Otematata Station. The above photo shows him out mustering with his horse Laddie. I have no idea when the photo was taken but it would be before 1969.


This is the International truck that Dad used to drive to take the wool through to the wool scour in Timaru. When it was new it was the greatest truck on the road. Now it looks like a Tonka toy!! For the "Celebrating 100 yrs. of the Cameron Family at Otematata Station 1908~2008" the truck was painted and sign written.

One of the old musterers was out on his morning walk in Kurow when he saw the truck getting painted at Haka Motors - he went rushing in and said "What are you doing to Jimmy Lou's (pronounced Lal) truck?"

Another old musterer was over heard saying "Well they may have painted the truck-but they wont have painted the dash board where Lou used to stub out his cigarettes!"

Dad spent the last 18 years of his life in Hanmer Springs-he was quiet, loved a joke, reading, rugby racing and a gin or a beer.

This following verse I found amongst my Mothers things, I had copied it out and asked my brother Malcolm to read it at Dad's funeral which he did.

I love the clean brown tussock

And the hills where the cool winds blow

It is my prayer

I may still be there

When the Lord calls "Wayleggo"

[The shepherd's command to a dog who has completed the job: Away here, Let go]

From New Zealand Farm and Station Verse.