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River Murray Flag

The appearance of the River Murray flag is a matter of speculation, but it is generally accepted to comprise the Union Jack in the top left and the cross of St George in the top right with five white stars, representing the five Australian colonies, on the red of the cross. Below are four blue and four white horizontal stripes. It has been speculated that the four blue stripes represent the four rivers that make up the Murray-Darling system, the Murray, Darling, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee. Today, two flags are common – the Upper Murray flag and the Lower Murray flag. The blue bars of the Upper Murray flag are dark blue, representing the dark waters of that part of the river and those of the Lower Murray flag are pale blue, representing the blue, grey water of the lower reaches.

The origins of the River Murray flag are unclear, but it may have been in existence as early as 1850 when RW Beddome, founder of the River Murray League, enthused “Up with the Murray flag.” An early recorded use of the River Murray flag was in March 1853 when the Randell family took the first paddle-steamers on the River Murray, the MaryAnn, to Goolwa. The River Murray flag was hoisted on their arrival.

Further Reading

Cayley, Frank.Flag of stars, Adelaide: Rigby, 1966.

TITLE Murray River flag
DATE 2003
FORMAT Photograph
LOCATION State Library of South Australia

View of the Murray River flag, suspended from the ceiling of the Signal Point cafe at Goolwa.


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