ROWAN Borella has no worries about having a convict ancestor who came to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788.
Today he and his wife Mary will be at Noreuil Park in Albury to advise others who think they might have a direct connection to the very beginnings of colonial rule in Australia.
Mr Borella’s late father, Captain Albert Borella, achieved fame by being awarded the Victorian Cross in World War I, but family members were unaware of the convict connection until 25 years ago.
“My great great-great grandfather was Thomas Kidner, who came out on the ship Alexander,” said Mr Borella, of Lavington.
“He was sentenced in Bristol to seven years’ transportation for stealing a piece of Irish linen worth six pounds and was 23 when his ship arrived here.
“After he had been in Sydney he was sent to Norfolk Island, where he married a convict from the Second Fleet, Jane Whiting. Things were really tough for them.”
Mrs Borella has spent 10 years researching her husband’s First Fleet connection and is treasurer of the Fellowship of First Fleeters’ Albury-Wodonga chapter.
She said one of Thomas Kidner’s granddaughters, Alfrida Kidner, married Italian Pietro Borella and they were the grandparents of Captain Borella.
“It’s fascinating to research these ancestors, and I’ve been able to go right back to Thomas Kidner’s family in the 1600s,” she said.
“We originally found out about him when someone told us in the bicentenary year.
“After Norfolk Island, Thomas and Jane went to live in Tasmania, where their son Thomas ran a ferry.”
Mr and Mrs Borella will man the fellowship’s information stall at Noreuil Park until midday today.