Celebrate the role of Territorian Anzacs 

Anzac Hill in Alice Springs - image courtesy of Tourism NT

Territorians have extra reason to commemorate Anzac Day, according to a prominent Northern Territory historian.

Charles Darwin University Emeritus Professor David Carment said Anzac Day has a very long and colourful background for the NT.

“While many Territorians are familiar with the Gallipoli battlefields in Turkey, they would be surprised just how many wartime heroes hail from their own backyard,” he said.

“In the First World War, for instance, a high proportion of eligible Territory men volunteered for service.”

Professor Carment also pointed to the little known fact that the Territory has its own Victoria Cross winner, Albert Borella.

A farmer on the Daly River, Albert Borella was the oldest member of the first Australian Imperial Force to be decorated with the medal.

“While leading his platoon in an assault on an enemy support trench, Mr Borella noticed a machine gun firing through the Australian barrage and ran out ahead of his men into the barrage, shot the gunners with his revolver and captured the gun,” Professor Carment said.

“He then led a small party against the strongly held Jaffa trench, 200 metres beyond his actual objective.

“A sharp fight ensued and the surprised defenders were showered with bombs and Lewis gun fire with the result that 30 Germans emerged from two dug-outs and were taken prisoner.”

Professor Carment said that it was important for young Australians to understand the Anzac tradition's significant role in shaping Australia's national identity as we understand it today.

“While the Allied Gallipoli campaign was a military disaster and there were huge Australian casualties on the Western Front, historians often view the First World War as a crucial period in which Australians became much more conscious of their nationhood.”