A brand new Chinese dragon is heading to Bendigo’s iconic Easter Festival, replacing the beloved Sun Loong, thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews today visited renowned craftsman Master Hui’s workshop in Hong Kong to announce work on the new papercraft dragon, to be called Dai Gum Loong – ‘Big Golden Dragon’ – had commenced, with the new dragon set to arrive in Bendigo in February in time for the 2019 Easter Festival.
The Labor Government has contributed $250,000 towards Dai Gum Loong, who when finished, will be approximately 120 metres in length, making it the longest dragon of its kind in the world. It will surpass Sun Loong by about 20 metres.
The new papercraft dragon will be made by Master Hui – one of Hong Kong’s youngest practitioners of this ancient art form – and will combine traditional painting and weaving techniques, and natural resources like bamboo and silk, to create the entirely hand-made dragon for festivals and celebrations.
Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum’s first dragon, Loong, was brought to Victoria by the Bendigo Chinese Association in 1892 and was replaced in 1970 with Sun Loong, ‘the New Dragon’.
Since then, Sun Loong has been the headline attraction of the Easter Festival, and has been a major contributor to tourism and local jobs in the region, with the long running festival attracting 60,000 visitors each year.
Now, the time has come to hand over a new dragon in Dai Gum Loong, with the 49 year-old Sun Loong set to be restored and preserved in an intricate process, before retiring to the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo.
In Chinese culture, dragons represent power, dignity, strength and wisdom, and they have been brought to life by dancers in processions and festivals for more than 1,000 years.
Victoria’s Chinese community is one of the state’s largest and most established cultural groups, and Bendigo plays a significant role in the community’s history. Chinese miners and merchants migrated to the region’s goldfields in the latter half of the 19th Century and have played a strong role ever since.
A number of other organisations and supporters have also contributed to the $750,000 project, including Virgin and the City of Greater Bendigo.
Victorian Government Media Release
31 May 2018