The Borella Ride - Darwin Ceremony Program Booklet

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The Commonwealth Government through the Anzac Centenary Public Fund and the Northern Territory Government are proud to support The Borella Ride, the flagship Anzac Centenary commemorative event for the Northern Territory. Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since our nation’s involvement in the First World War. The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians. The First World War helped define us as people and as a nation. During the Anzac Centenary we will remember not only the original ANZACs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women. The Anzac Centenary Program encompasses all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians were involved. The Program aims to give all Australians the opportunity to honour the service and sacrifice of all those who have worn our nation’s uniform, including the more than 102,000 who have made the supreme sacrifice. It also aims to encourage all Australians to reflect upon and learn more about Australia’s military history, its costs and its impacts on our nation.


Albert Borella VC The Territory’s Foremost Soldier Albert Borella VC MM is one of only 100 Australians, and the only Northern Territorian, to have received the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour in the British Empire, for “most conspicuous bravery in attack”. Born in Victoria in 1881, Borella was lured to the Northern Territory with offers of pastoral land and prosperity in the Daly River district in 1913. After the outbreak of The Great War, he travelled from the Tennant Creek area to Darwin to enlist. When he found out that he couldn’t join up in Darwin, he boarded a ship to Townsville in Queensland where he enlisted and was posted to the 26th Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force. He fought at both Gallipoli and the Western Front, was wounded, commissioned on the battlefield and awarded for bravery three times. Albert Borella received the Victoria Cross in 1918 by King George V at Sandringham Palace. His age, 36, made him the oldest recipient within the First Australian Imperial Force. His Victoria Cross citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery in attack. Whilst leading his platoon with the first wave, Lieutenant Borella marked an enemy machine gun firing through our barrage. He ran out ahead of his men into the barrage, shot two German machine gunners with his revolver, and captured the gun. He then led his party, now reduced to ten men and two Lewis guns, against a very strongly held trench, using his revolver, and later a rifle, with great effect, causing many enemy casualties. His leading and splendid example resulted in the garrison being quickly shot and captured. Two large dug outs were also bombed, and thirty prisoners taken. Subsequently the enemy twice counter attacked in strong force, on the second occasion outnumbering Lieutenant Borella’s platoon by ten to one, but his cool determination inspired his men to resist heroically, and the enemy were repulsed, with very heavy losses.’ Commonwealth Gazette No. 23, 12 February 1919. Upon returning to Australia, Borella moved to Victoria where he married and began a family. At the outbreak of World War II, he took up the Colours again and served in Australia. He was promoted to Captain in 1942. Albert Borella VC died on 7 February 1968 and was buried with full military honours at the Albury Presbyterian cemetery in New South Wales.


Welcome The Northern Territory has played a proud and significant role in Australia’s military history. Territorians have not forgotten the sacrifices made by men and women in wars over the past century. The Anzac Centenary is a very special time for all Australians and is one of the most significant commemorations to take place in our lifetime. The first Anzacs helped forge our national identity and define our national character. They left a strong and enduring legacy. The Borella Ride will re-enact the journey of the Territory’s only Victoria Cross recipient Albert Borella from Tennant Creek to Darwin to enlist in World War I. The Borella Ride highlights not only Albert Borella’s achievements, but those of many of his companions, both then and in later wars. Albert’s journey and his military accomplishments are a real embodiment of true Territory strength and resilience. For part of this journey Albert was accompanied by an Indigenous man called ‘Charlie’. However, little is known of ‘Charlie’. Australia wide approximately 500 Indigenous people enlisted during WWI. Records reveal at least three Indigenous Territorians enlisted in World War I – Private Alexander McKinnon, Private Robert Shepherd and Private Willie Allen. It is thought around 420,000 Australians enlisted for service in World War I; with 462 of those coming from the Northern Territory. Given our population of settlers numbered only several thousands, it was a tremendous achievement. During the Anzac Centenary we will remember not only the Anzacs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women. In World War II the conflict was brought to our own backyard and the Top End of Australia endured two years of air raids. Darwin braved scores of air raids, the first taking the lives of 235 defenders and civilians. Today we see thousands of our own troops and of our American ally based here. The Northern Territory has a proud past in our country’s military history, and we honour and maintain that tradition. The Borella Ride demonstrates that commitment, and symbolises in its progression the bravery and ability under arms so powerfully shown by Albert Borella VC, Territory soldier and hero. The Borella Ride is the Northern Territory’s flagship Anzac Centenary activity, proudly supported by the Australian and the Northern Territory Governments. Adam Giles Chief Minister of the Northern Territory


A Message from the Minister for Veterans Affairs Today you are honouring the commitment, tenacity and war-time contribution of Albert Borella VC MM. Borella is an example to us all of the selfless determination of a generation of young Australians to defend sacred values. Generations later, we are inspired by his personal determination to serve his nation and his devotion to duty. Because of his bravery and devotion to duty, he is one of only 100 Australians and the only Northern Territorian to receive our nation’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross ‘for valour’. The Centenary of Anzac will mark a century of service and sacrifice, encompassing all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved. It will be the most significant period of commemoration in our nation’s history. The Commonwealth Government is pleased to provide $1.4 million to The Borella Ride project through the Anzac Centenary Public fund. I wish you well on your ride and trust that you will share the spirit and the history of the Anzacs with those you meet along the way. Senator Ronaldson

Presenter Ray Martin AM Ray Martin has become one of Australia’s most respected and trusted journalists after almost half a century on television. He has won an unmatched number of Gold and Silver Logies, People’s Choice and other journalism awards. Ray spent a decade as the ABC’s North American Correspondent, before joining Channel 9’s 60 Minutes as one of its inaugural reporters. Martin went on to host A Current Affair, Midday, Sunday, Carols By Candlelight and over fifty top-rating specials. A long-term member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Ray Martin has also been Chairman of the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, as well as Patron of the Humpty Dumpty Foundation which has raised over forty million dollars for children’s hospitals. In 2010 Ray was appointed a member of the Order of Australia for his service to journalism and his tireless work in indigenous and charitable organisations.


Special Guests Rowan and Mary Borella The Northern Territory is delighted to welcome Albert Borella’s son, Rowan Borella and his wife Mary. Growing up in Hamilton, Victoria, the family followed Captain Borella during his WWII service. Rowan is the third of four sons and he lives with Mary in Albury NSW. “The Borella Ride is highlighting for me the terrific sacrifice those men of World War I made to sign up,” Rowan says. “I think Dad was one of the pioneers of the early effort. But even though he had some tremendous achievements, in the family we regarded him as a calm, collected individual – he never got rattled by anything.”

Keith Payne VC OAM Warrant Officer Keith Payne VC was awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross for his military actions in the Vietnam War in 1969. He received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his work in the veteran community, particularly in counselling sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a rare opportunity to have such a remarkable person visiting the Territory, and we are grateful that he is able to be a part of our flagship Anzac Centenary activity.

Doug and Kaye Baird Doug and Kaye Baird are the parents of Corporal Cameron Baird VC MG, the last Australian soldier to receive the Victoria Cross. Corporal Baird received the Victoria Cross “for the most conspicuous acts of valour, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self-sacrifice” during action as a Commando Team Commander at Ghawchak village, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan in June 2013. He is the 100th Australian to receive the prestigious military honour.




As The Borella Ride travels up the Stuart Highway communities will have an opportunity to meet The Borella Ride Team, enjoy children games from 1915, view the full Albert Borella Travelling Display and be entertained by Ted Egan AO performing songs from The ANZACS: 100 Years on in Story and Song. All community members and visitors are invited to these FREE community events.

In 1915, Albert Borella journeyed thro Northern Territory’s Outback from Te join up to fight in World War I. He fo Western Front, was wounded, commi and was awarded the Victoria C for valour in co

THE BORELLA RIDE Arrival 21 February, 2:30pm - 3:00pm* Departure 22 February, 7:15am - 7:30am*

Tennant Creek

Arrival 24 February, 2:30pm - 3:00pm* Departure 25 February, 8:15am - 8:30am*

20 February

Tennant Creek Telegraph Station

Renner Springs


22 February Official Departure Ceremony 20 February, 2015 8:30am - 10:00am Nyinkka Nyunyu Cultural Centre The 20th of February 2015 will mark the official commencement of The Borella Ride, the Northern Territory’s flagship Anzac Centenary activity. Tennant Creek community members and visitors will be joined by TV presenter, Ray Martin as MC and special guests including Keith Payne VC to be witness to this once in a lifetime event.

24 February

Banka Banka

21 February


23 February

Arrival 22 February, 2:30pm - 3:00pm* Departure 23 February, 7:15am - 7:30am*

The Borella Ride team will depart Tennant Creek at the conclusion of the Ceremony.

Arrival Telegraph Station 20 February, 4:00pm - 4:30pm* Departure Telegraph Station 21 February, 7:15am - 7:30am*

Arrival 26 February, 2:30pm - 3: Departure 27 February, 7:15am - 7:


26 Febr

Daly Waters

25 February

Arrival 23 February, 2:30pm - 3:00pm*

Arrival 25 February, 2:30pm - 3:00pm*

Community Reception and BBQ 23 February, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm Elliott Sport & Recreation Centre

Community Event 25 February, 2015 4:00pm - 6:00pm Daly Waters Historic Pub

Departure 24 February, 8:30am - 8:45am*

Departure 26 February, 8:15am - 8:30am*

TRAVELLING DISPLAY  Travelling with The Borella Ride is a display that tells the remarkable story of the Northern Territory’s foremost soldier and only Victoria Cross recipient.

through photographic material and the eyes of the people who lived around him, offering a view of life in the Territory 100 years ago.

Borella was a modest man and didn’t keep a diary, so most of his story is told

A collection of historic artefacts and photos will be on display, including


replica weapons from World War I and items from everyday life in 1915. The Display will also tell the story of Borella’s thousand kilometre journey to enlist in World War I, and how this is being retraced through The Borella Ride.


Tennant Creek Renner Springs



MODES OF TRAVEL  The Borella Ride will represent Borella’s journey by symbolically retracing his footsteps - arriving and departing in each community by the mode of travel that Borella would have taken 100 years ago.

Renner Springs Katherine





ough 1000 kilometres of the ennant Creek to Darwin to ought at Gallipoli, and the issioned on the battlefield, Cross, the highest honour ombat.



Arrival 27 February, 1:00pm - 1:30pm* Community Reception and BBQ 27 February, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm Mataranka Town Hall

The Final Farewell will be held at Stokes Hill Wharf on Tuesday, 3 March to mark the arrival of The Borella Ride into Darwin and commemorate Albert Borella’s departure from the Northern Territory and his journey to become a recipient of the prestigious Victoria Cross and one of Australia’s military heroes. It’s estimated that The Borella Ride will arrive at Stokes Hill Wharf between 5.30pm and 6pm. It’s recommended that if you wish to witness Borella’s arrival, to be at the wharf before 5.30pm.

Arrival 28 February, 1:30pm - 2:00pm* Community Reception and BBQ 28 February, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm Katherine Showgrounds

Please note that parking on the wharf will not be accessible, however parking at the Convention Centre and at the Waterfront will be available.

Borella VC: A talk with Dr Tom Lewis 01 March, 2015 11:00am - 12:00pm Katherine Visitor Information Centre, Theatre Room Travelling Display Open for Schools 02 March, 2015 8:30am - 11:30am Katherine Showgrounds

Arrival 02 March, 3:00pm - 3:30pm* Community Reception and BBQ 02 March, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm Pine Creek Town Hall Departure 03 March, 10:50am - 11:00am* Mango Farm Crossing

Departure 02 March, 12:30pm - 12:45pm*

Departure 28 February, 8:00am - 8:15am*





27 February

28 February - 2 March

WALK WITH THE BORELLA RIDE D Walk with The Borella Ride as it completes its journey on Tuesday, 3 March, through Bicentennial Park (alongside The Esplanade) to Stokes Hill Wharf in time to be witness to the Final Farewell presented by Ray Martin.

Adelaide River Pine Creek

3 March

2 March Arrival and Departure 03 March, 2015 1:20pm - 1:25pm Stuart Hwy near Adelaide River Railway Museum

Travelling Display 03 March, 2015 10:00am - 1:00pm Smith Street Mall, Darwin City Walk with The Borella Ride 03 March 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm The Esplanade to Stokes Hill Wharf, Darwin

Register to be part of the Final Leg of The Borella Ride at

The Borella Ride Final Farewell 03 March, 2015 5:00pm - 7:00pm Stokes Hill Wharf

Muster Point: Bicentennial Park, opposite One30 Esplanade apartments (130 The Esplanade, Darwin) on the Daly Street end. Arrive before 4pm to sign on. The Walk commences promptly at 4.15pm. Sign on will be open from 3.30pm

This is a free activity, open to people of all ages.


w the journey at. . .

Katherine Pine Creek

The Albert Borella Victoria Cross Exhibition 03 February - 02 March 2015 10:00am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri 1:00pm - 5:00pm Sat & Sun Main Hall, Parliament House Borella’s War NT Library Exhibition 02 February - 03 May 2015 10:00am - 4:00pm Northern Territory Library

Why not dress in a 1915 themed costume and add to the atmosphere of the flagship Anzac Centenary activity for the Northern Territory, commemorating Albert Borella’s remarkable journey to enlist in World War I.

As this is a wet season event, we recommend you bring water, wet weather protection and comfortable walking shoes. The walk is approximately 3 kilometres.


3 March

* Arrival and departure times may be subject to change due to weather conditions and unforseeable circumstances.


Borella VC: A talk with Dr Tom Lewis 12 March, 2015 5:15pm - 6:00pm Northern Territory Library

Pine Creek Darwin

   @theborellaride  #theborellaride and nightly on Channel 9 during A Current 7 Affair and Imparja during the Nightly News to see daily broadcasts

Speakers Tom Lewis OAM Lead Historian for The Borella Ride, Dr Tom Lewis is a published military historian who served in the Armed Forces for nearly 20 years. As a Navy Officer, he commanded USA forces in Baghdad during the Iraq War. Dr Lewis’ most recent work is Carrier Attack, the definitive account of the Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942. In 2003 Dr Lewis was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to naval history.

Rupert McCall OAM Few can capture the essence of our country and its heroes like Rupert McCall. Rupert is the author of six anthologies of verse that have collectively sold over 100,000 copies including his latest offering Book Antiqua. He received the Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for service to the community, particularly as a poet. Rupert’s latest poem “The Ballad of Borella” is written especially for The Borella Ride and is performed for the very first time in Tennant Creek.

Entertainers Richard Goldsworthy - Pianist Richard was born in Cairns, in the tropical north of Australia and spent his early childhood in the tiny rainforest village of Kuranda. Much of his music is inspired by the unique beauty of Australia’s natural landscape. Richard studied classical piano through his childhood, and began composing as a teenager, releasing his first album, Firelight Moon in 1992. He has since released a number of albums, composed while travelling around the world and Australia.

Damien Wicks – Singer of National Anthem Damien has performed our National Anthem at several major sporting events including Jeff Fenech’s last world title fight, Australian V8 supercars, NT AFL grand final just to name a few. Damien also recorded the Brisbane Lions theme song with members of Aussie hall of fames “Masters Apprentices”. He is also the driving force of Dr Elephant’s engaging presence, fronting the band with his versatile voice and huge range. He has recently taken the role of the band’s bass player.


The Borella Ride Team

Richard Borella Grandson of Albert Borella

Ted Egan AO Entertainer

Luke Nolan

Senior Constable Tim George Companion Rider

Dr Tom Lewis OAM

Charlie Cloos

Companion Rider

Janette Wilson

Lead Historian

Horse Coordinator and Companion Rider

Donna Ellem

Fred McConnel

Horse Assistant

Horse Assistant

Mail Cart Driver Katherine to Pine Creek

Andy Mills

Bill Anderson

Heather Anderson


Camp Cook

Camp Cook

The Borella Ride also travelled with a support crew who provided operational and logistical assistance for the duration of the journey. 9

The Victoria Cross The Victoria Cross is the highest decoration that can be awarded to any serving members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. It is the most honoured and coveted award, only given to those with courage and daring who have performed an act of valour or selfsacrifice or extreme devotion to duty “in the face of the enemy”. Created by Queen Victoria in 1856, the Victoria Cross was made retrospective to cover the Crimean War. Only 100 Australians have received the Victoria Cross, some of those posthumously. Recipients are entitled to use the letters “VC” after their names. The Victoria Cross medal bears the inscription “For Valour” and is cast from the metal of cannons captured during the Crimean War (1854-56). After melting the bronze metal from the guns, the rough cast Crosses are then individually hand finished. There is sufficient metal still for a number of new medals to be cast from these cannons. The bar, decorated with laurel leaves and bearing a ‘V’ from which the cross hangs, is cast separately. The Victoria Cross was awarded to armed forces from countries across the former British Empire. More recently, Canada, New Zealand and Australia have created their own version of the Victoria Cross, based on the original medal.

Australia’s Victoria Crosses

WAR Boer War (1899-1902)..................................................................... 6 World War I (1914-1918)................................................................ 64 North Russia (1919)......................................................................... 2 World War II (1939-1945)............................................................... 20 Vietnam (1962-1972)....................................................................... 4 Afghanistan (2001-2013)................................................................. 4* Total ............................................................................................. 100 *The Victoria Cross of Australia.


SS Aldenham When Albert Borella reached Darwin after his 1,000 kilometre journey, he found that the government was not taking enlistments from the Northern Territory. At the time the government felt that men were needed to help with the development of the Territory, rather than join the war effort. After paying the debts he owed the government relating to his farm, Borella was left broke. To enlist, he needed to get to Townsville, but couldn’t afford the fare. Fortunately, he met a man named Walter SS Aldenham Bell, who owned the Northern Territory Times and Gazette, and was pro-enlistment. Bell was able to get Borella passage on the steamship SS Aldenham. The last glimpse Albert Borella had of the Northern Territory was on 8 March 1915, when friends and onlookers crowded to the Darwin wharf to see off the volunteers. This was still a novelty for Territorians. The newspaper at the time recorded that the crowd cheered the volunteers on the steamers when they left the wharf, singing “It’s a long way to Tipperary”. The SS Aldenham was the second ship to take volunteers to Townsville to enlist, with the Taiyuan having left Darwin four days earlier with the first group of men. Borella arrived in Townsville and was able to enlist on 15 March 1915.

The Albert Borella Travelling Display The Albert Borella Travelling Display tells the remarkable story of the Northern Territory’s only Victoria Cross recipient. Albert Borella was a modest man and didn’t keep a diary, so most of his story is told through photographic material and the eyes of the people who lived around him, offering a view of life in the Territory 100 years ago. The Display contains a collection of historic artefacts and photos, including replica weapons from World War I and items from everyday life in 1915. It also tells the story of Borella’s thousand kilometre journey to enlist in World War I, and how this is retraced through The Borella Ride.


Acknowledgements We would like to thank and acknowledge the following individuals and organisations: The Borella Family A1 Plaques Australia ABC ACE Traffic Control Adelaide River Show Society Administrator of the Northern Territory, His Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM Alice Springs RSL Alice Springs Town Band Alice Springs Town Council Apollo Motorhome Holidays Arthur J Gallagher Insurance Aussie Signs, Darwin Australian Defence Force Australian Defence Force Cadets Australian War Memorial Banka Banka Station Barkly Regional Arts and Roving Artists Barkly Regional Council Barkly Work Camp Bluestone Motor Inn, Tennant Creek Brandit NT Buslink Centralian Advocate Channel Nine City of Darwin Colemans Printing Daly Waters Historic Pub Darwin City Brass Band Darwin Convention Centre Darwin Picture Framing Darwin RSL Darwin Theatre Company Darwin Volunteers Darwin Waterfront Corporation Defence Housing Australia Department of Arts and Museums, Northern Territory

Department of Education, Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Northern Territory Department of Transport, Northern Territory Department of the Chief Minister, Northern Territory Digital Mojo Dunmarra Roadhouse Eldorado Motor Inn, Tennant Creek Elliott Primary School Friends of the North Australian Railway Fusion Exhibition and Hire Services Genesee & Wyoming Australia Hon.Kezia Purick MLA Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Imparja Karen Sheldon Catering Katherine Times Katherine Town Council Kimberly Wild Expeditions Larrakia People Larrimah Pub Linfox Armaguard Pty Ltd Motor Enthusiasts Club Inc Northern Territory Mr Barry Burrows Mr Damien Wicks Mr Doug Baird and Mrs Kaye Baird Mr Jerry Kelly Mr Keith Payne VC OAM and Mrs Florence Payne OAM Mr Ray Martin AM Mr Richard Goldsworthy Mr Rupert McCall OAM Mr Ted Egan AO Mrs Juliet Mills Mrs Natasha Nichols Ms Jacquie Lines – Mail Cart, Tennant Creek Ms Tania Lieman Northern Territory Airports

Northern Territory Emergency Services Northern Territory Police Force NT News Nyinkka Nyunyu Cultural Centre Ostojic Group Outback Caravan Park, Tennant Creek Parks and Wildlife Commission NT, Tennant Creek Penny’s Fancy Dress Performance Security Pine Creek Turf Club Renner Springs Road House Riverview Tourist Village, Katherine Roper Gulf Regional Council SignCity Darwin Simon Says TV Skydive Australia St John Ambulance Australia Stokes Hill Wharf Harbourmaster Tennant and District Times Tennant Creek High School Tennant Creek Parks and Wildlife Tennant Creek Primary School Tennant Creek RSL Tennant Creek Security Service Territory FM Thrifty Total Event Services TR Hirecom TV Works Victoria Daly Council Viv Thistlewaite – The Swordfish Warumungu People Further acknowledgements can be found at

Music The feature song for The Borella Ride is The Return of the Hero 2, by Patrick Hawes 12

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