This design is influenced by earlier flags used in the Australian colonies including the National Colonial Flag (1823-24) and the NSW Merchant Flag of the 1830s. It combines the Union Jack with the Southern Cross featured on a red cross of St George and blue and white stripes, interpreted as the tributaries flowing into the Murray. It has been flying on the Murray River paddle steamers since 1853. Today all vessels on the Murray may fly it together with the Australian Red Ensign. In recent years a variation on this flag has been introduced representing the South Australian end of the river. The Murray River Flag and the original American Revolutionary flag, the Cambridge or Grand Union flag, were based on the British East India Company flag designs. A remarkably similar design was once used in Tasmania as the Van Diemens Land Ensign.