Borella travels to Darwin to enlist

1915, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory

In January 1915, Albert Borella made the decision to enlist in the Great War. He was in the Tennant Creek area at the time, working as a cook for a survey party. Leaving the travelling party he set off on foot with an Aboriginal man named Charlie, walking along the Overland Telegraph track, and crossing flooded rivers, to reach Renner Springs. Not much is known about Charlie, or why he joined Borella on the trek, although there is a pencil sketch of Charlie, which Borella drew himself.

When Borella reached Renner Springs, he was able to borrow a horse from the mailman at Powell Creek. For 250 miles (about 400 kilometres) he rode to Katherine, where he then hitched a ride on a horse drawn mail buggy, something he likely had to pay for. When he reached Pine Creek he boarded a train for Darwin, finally arriving towards the end of February 1915.

When he arrived in Darwin, however, Borella found out that he still couldn’t enlist there. He had to get to Townsville, Queensland, but didn’t have the funds left to do so. He was able to get help from a man named Walter Bell who was a keen supporter of the war effort and arranged Borella’s transport on the SS Aldenham.