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Murray River Flags - Lower and Upper Murray River

Flags of the Murray River - 1853

Flags of the Murray River

The story of the Murray River flag is one of the oldest in Australia.

Before Federation the Australian colonies flew the United Kingdom’s Union Jack, however in the 1850s our sense of national pride emerged. Varied unofficial flags often featuring the Southern Cross constellation were designed and flown.

There were the:

  • 1823 - National Colonial flag
  • 1852 - Anti-Transportation League flag
  • 1853 - Murray River flag
  • 1854 - Eureka flag
  • 1880s to the 1890s - Australian Federation flag

The Murray River flag first appeared at Goolwa to honour the first Paddle steamer on the Murray River, the Mary Ann, on the barge Eureka. It is the only flag in the world named in honour of a river.

The flag was described by a reporter of the Australian Register as "the flag bears a red cross with four horizontal blue bars. The Cross being charged with five stars as emblems of the colonies while the upper corner, is taken up with British connections which is depicted by the Union Jack. It has been named, we understand the Murray River flag and it has been said that the blue bars represent the four major rivers that run into the Murray river, the Murrumbidgee, Lachlan and the Darling."

The Lower Murray Flag, used predominantly in South Australia, is distinguished by the use of pale blue bands representing the lighter coloured water of the lower reaches of the Murray.

The Upper Murray Flag has darker blue bands on its flag, representing the darker waters of the river’s upper reaches.

This design was also the house flag of the Murray River Steam Navigation Co. which suggests that it is a lineal descendant of the original flag design. No specimen or fragment of the original Murray River Flag is known to exist.


 

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South Australia's Murray River


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