About the Author


David Otterman was born in Canada but has lived in Australia for the past 40 years.  He is a graduate of McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and a geologist by profession (now retired).

After travelling to Australia, Asia and Europe in his early twenties, he returned to Australia and married Barbara Campbell, taking her with him to Canada where they remained for 8 years.

During his career as a geologist he was involved principally in mineral exploration in many countries around the world, most recently Argentina and Brazil. Although he has written numerous independent geologist’s reports, his previous published works are confined to two papers included in technical volumes:

  • Otterman, D.W., 1990. Gidgee gold deposits, Jonesville, in Geology of the Mineral Deposits of Australia and Papua New Guinea (Ed. F.E. Hughes), pp. 267-271 (The Australian Institute of  Mining and Metallurgy)
  • Otterman, D.W. and de san Miguel, G.F., 1995. The discovery and development of the Mt McClure gold deposits, in New Generation Gold Mines: Case Histories of Discovery, Australian Mineral Foundation.

John Campbell and Charlotte Dawson; Trials of Life and Law is his first work of historical biography.

David commenced his research into family history about fifteen years ago, over time tracing his Otterman ancestors back to the first half of the 18th century in north eastern France from where they emigrated to Canada in 1828.

About ten years ago, Barbara, a teacher, discovered that her earliest female ancestor in Australia, Charlotte Dawson, had been a convict. Stimulated to find out more, initial research revealed several intriguing facts about Charlotte and her husband John Campbell, and the idea of a book was formed.

Further research for the book presented the necessity, as well as a good excuse, to travel to Scotland and England, and New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland in Australia, where many enjoyable hours were spent in libraries and archives with the thrill of discovering some new fact ever present. In essence, to David, this was very much like his career in mineral exploration, libraries and archives replacing repositories of geological data and technical field work.

David lives in Perth, Western Australia, with his wife Barbara. They have two children who were born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada and two grand children born in Perth.

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