Day 7 – The iconic Daly Waters


Borella and his horse would have trotted on by Daly Waters, where we are now, but only because the new fangled flying machines had not got that far yet. Flying – a major activity around Daly Waters in WWII – was not a commercial or military realty in 1915, but that quickly changed.

Borella’s platoon in his VC action in 1918 was supported by an Allied aircraft. Military aircraft were a huge part of the Allied war effort in the Northern Territory in the second global conflict of 1939-1945, and by the end of that war there were 41 airfields in use across the NT, one of which may be seen still at Daly Waters today.

Borella would have been glad of a beer at the Daly Waters iconic pub. Owners Lindsay Carmichael and Robyn Webster have been there for more than 15 years, after moving up the Stuart Highway from Tennant Creek.

The 17 room hotel is an attraction in itself, with a range of Australian eccentricia, if such a word exists, which has stacked up there over the decades. The telegraph line runs nearby, the essential communications link that Borella serviced in his last NT job before signing up for the War. Hundreds more Territory men joined him, but scores did not return.

Wayside stops such as Daly Waters are more than a service to the modern tourism trade – they are symbolic reminders of how huge the Territory is and how difficult it sometimes is to make a living in the Top End. It might be tough, but there are still good times as well as the bad, for example the occasional floods are followed by comedian Jimeoin. Every day is different, every passer by has a story to tell, and Big Kev’s beef jerky is currently providing a chili surprise for southerners…

The Borella Ride continues up the Stuart Highway.

By Dr Tom Lewis, Lead Historian for The Borella Rideblog posts