Final day of The Borella Ride


In 1915, Albert Borella journeyed through 1,000 kilometres of Northern Territory’s outback from the Tennant Creek area to Darwin, and then onto Townsville by ship, to enlist in World War I. He fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front; was wounded, commissioned on the battlefield, and awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest honour for valour in combat.

From 20 February to 3 March 2015, The Borella Ride travelled from Tennant Creek to Darwin symbolically retracing Borella’s trek, which included walking, horse riding, hitching a ride on a horse drawn mail cart and a train ride. Albert Borella’s grandson, Richard Borella, participated in the journey accompanied by two travelling companions, Tim George and Charlie Cloos, and a support crew.

The Borella Ride visited towns and communities along the Stuart Highway, with a range of activities taking place in each community including a travelling exhibition, community receptions and BBQs, campfire talks, ceremonial and educational activities.

The Commonwealth Government through the Anzac Centenary Public Fund and the Northern Territory Government proudly supported The Borella Ride, the flagship Anzac Centenary commemorative event for the Northern Territory.

Find out more about Albert Borella VC MM and what happened during The Borella Ride.

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  • 1881

    1881: Early Days

    Early Days

    1881, Borung - Victoria, AUSTRALIA

    Albert Borella was born at Borung, Victoria, on 7 August 1881. Albert Borella was the first son for Louis and Annie née Chalmers. He was the middle child between older sister Elizabeth and younger sister Annie Aurora. more
  • 1900

    1900: The Victorian Rangers

    The Victorian Rangers

    1900, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

    Prior to enlisting in the First World War, Albert Borella had some military experience. He served with the Victorian Rangers for eighteen months. more
  • 1902

    1902: Farming in New South Wales

    Farming in New South Wales

    1902, Thyra, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA

    In 1902 Albert Borella’s father Louis, moved to Thyra, west of Mathoura in New South Wales to take up farming there and Albert went with him. more
  • 1910

    1910: Metropolitan Fire Brigades

    Metropolitan Fire Brigades

    1910, St Kilda - Victoria, AUSTRALIA

    On 25 April 1910 Borella accepted a position with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade at a salary of £3 10s a week. more
  • 1913

    1913: Prosperity up North!

    Prosperity up North!

    1913, Darwin - Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA

    Albert Borella was naturally adventurous, and always looking for something new. He read a pamphlet advertising land grants in the Northern Territory which he talked over with his mates in the Brigade. more

    1913: Land Release

    Land Release

    1913, Daly River - Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA

    Encouraged by the opportunities available in the Northern Territory, Albert Borella together with Parker and Lewis took the boat to Darwin arriving on the SS St Albans 24 February 1913. When they arrived they discovered they were ahead of the program. more

    1913: Farming on the Daly

    Farming on the Daly

    1913, Daly River, Northern Territory AUSTRALIA

    In April, Borella, Lewis & Parker successfully gained a hold over Section 2 or 3, Hundred of Berinka, County of Malmesbury. more
  • 1915

    1915: Borella travels to Darwin to enlist

    Borella travels to Darwin to enlist

    1915, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory

    In January 1915, Albert Borella made the decision to volunteer in the Great War and began a long journey from Tennant Creek to Darwin. more

    1915: Borella sails from Darwin to Townsville

    Borella sails from Darwin to Townsville

    1915, Darwin, Northern Territory

    On 8 March 1915, Albert Borella set sail from Darwin to Townsville on the SS Aldenham to enlist in the First World War.



    1915: Borella enlists in World War I

    Borella enlists in World War I

    1915, Townsville, Queensland AUSTRALIA

    Borella was formally enlisted into the Australian Army on 15 March 1915. According to his family, he “wanted to join the Light Horse as everyone did” but was taken into the infantry, the most dangerous occupation of all military life. more

    1915: Borella posted to the 26th Battalion

    Borella posted to the 26th Battalion

    1915, Brisbane, Queensland AUSTRALIA

    No. 275 Private Albert “Bert" Borella of the 26th Infantry Battalion embarked on the HMAT Ascanius A11 from Brisbane on the 24th May 1915.  Borella served for the entire war with the 26th Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force. more
  • 1917

    1917: Borella awarded the Military Medal

    Borella awarded the Military Medal


    The Military Medal is awarded for ‘acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire’.


    1917: Borella commissioned on the field

    Borella commissioned on the field


    Albert Borella Commissioned on the Field as a 2nd Lieutenant.

    The lowest of the officer ranks, and in peacetime a training position. For Borella and others like him commissioned in the battlefield they usually held command rank immediately rather than being seconded under a First Lieutenant or Captain. more

    1917: Borella Mentioned in a Despatch

    Borella Mentioned in a Despatch


    The Mention in Despatches (MID) is the oldest British award and was a device used by commanders at sea or in the field to bring the services of deserving officers to the attention of higher authority. more

    1917: Borella promoted to Sergeant

    Borella promoted to Sergeant


    A position of considerable importance, sergeants were the most experienced or the most capable men of the soldier ranks. New officers always relied – if they were wise – on their sergeant’s advice, although the responsibility for ensuing orders was always the officer’s. more

    1917: Borella promoted to Lieutenant

    Borella promoted to Lieutenant


    Borella was now promoted to the full Lieutenant rank. This would have given him nominally command of a platoon, but with wartime pressure it would have been a large platoon, and maybe even sometimes a company of up to 200 men. more
  • 1918

    1918: Battle of Villers-Bretonneux France

    Battle of Villers-Bretonneux France

    1918, Villers-Bretonneux, FRANCE

    On the night of July 17-18, 1918 at Villers Bretonneux France, Albert Borella earned the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery in attack.


    1918: Borella presented the Victoria Cross

    Borella presented the Victoria Cross

    1918, Sandringham House, Norfolk ENGLAND

    Albert Borella was awarded the Victoria Cross, by King George V at Sandringham Palace, on 16 September 1918; his age, 36, making him the oldest recipient within the first AIF . Borella’s VC was the only one awarded to a soldier from the Northern Territory during World War I. more
  • 1919

    1919: Borella returned to Australia

    Borella returned to Australia

    1919, Melbourne, Victoria AUSTRALIA

    Albert Borella returned to Australia on board the ship “HMAT Marathon", Melbourne Victoria. more

    1919: Borella discharged from service in WWI

    Borella discharged from service in WWI


    The service of Albert Borella VC MM in the Australian Army officially ends. more
  • 1939

    1939: Borella enlists in World War II

    Borella enlists in World War II


    Albert Borella enlists in World War II, and served in Australia from October 1939 to May 1945. more
  • 1942

    1942: Borella promoted to rank of Captain

    Borella promoted to rank of Captain


    Albert Borella promoted to rank of Captain. He served with the 51st Garrison Company at Myrtleford until discharged in 1945. more
  • 1945

    1945: Borella discharged from service as World War II nears its end

    Borella discharged from service as World War II nears its end


    With the war in Europe over, Borella’s service in charge of internees and Prisoners of War was nearing its end. He was 64 – considerably older than most soldiers. more
  • 1968

    1968: Albert Borella VC MM dies at age 86

    Albert Borella VC MM dies at age 86


    Survived by his wife and two of his four sons, Albert Chalmers Borella VC, MM died at the age of 86. Borella was buried with full military honours at the Albury Presbyterian cemetery. more