Albert Borella's VC arrives in Darwin

Neda Vanovac
AAP
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Albert Borella's VC arrives in Darwin

A Victorian Cross awarded to NT farmer turned fighter Albert Borella has gone on display in Darwin.

A century ago, fireman-turned-farmer Albert Borella wanted to enlist to fight in World War I so badly that he travelled more than 1000km from Tennant Creek to Darwin on foot, horseback, by horse-drawn cart and train.

When he found out he couldn't enlist in Darwin, he boarded a ship to Townsville, signing up before being posted to the 26th Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force.

He went on to fight in Gallipoli before being sent to the trenches on the Western Front in France and Belgium.

Wounded on the battlefield and decorated three times, he was awarded the highest honour for valour in combat, the Victoria Cross.

And on Tuesday, under armed guard and escorted by tanks and soldiers, his Victoria Cross - one of only 100 awarded to Australians - arrived in Darwin.

It marks the beginning of centenary celebrations of his remarkable odyssey.

On February 20, his grandson Richard Borella will retrace his journey for 12 days through the Top End.

"In those days if you fell off (your horse) and broke your leg there was no helicopter to come and pick you up, (but) of course, then you didn't have semi-trailers belting past at 140kph... We're doing what we can to re-enact sections of what Albert went through," military historian Tom Lewis told AAP.

Mr Borella went on to serve in World War Two aged in his 50s, running prisoner-of-war camps in the southern states of Australia.

"He was just a very good soldier, a very natural leader," Mr Lewis said.

"People like him don't come along all the time. Most people do their bit, but it takes a lot to seize the initiative, to step forward and say `follow me, you blokes'."

Mr Borella's son Rowan, now aged in his 80s, will travel in a motorhome alongside the Borella riders.