Bendigo’s popular Easter Festival is a step closer to a new Chinese dragon to replace the beloved Sun Loong, thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren, Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan, Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards and the local community to announce that the Labor Government would contribute $250,000 towards Sun Loong’s replacement.
Sun Loong has been the headline attraction of the Easter Festival since 1971, 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.
The new dragon is expected to be called Dai Gum Loong – ‘Big Golden Dragon’ – and at approximately 140 metres will be the longest dragon of its kind in the world, surpassing Sun Loong by around 40 metres.
As part of the project, the 47 year old Sun Loong will be restored and preserved in an intricate process expected to take more than two years, 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 gold fields in the latter half of the 19th Century and have played a strong role ever since.
A number of other organisations and supporters will also contribute to the $750,000 project, including Virgin and the City of Greater Bendigo, with $187,000 raised so far.
Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Dai Gum Loong will attract visitors, boost local jobs and ensure the Chinese community’s proud history in Bendigo lives on.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren
“After watching Sun Loong in action with Sir Richard Branson, we’re proud to do our part in bringing Dai Gum Loong to Bendigo. A new dragon will ensure the Festival remains a prominent event in the future.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan
“Not only will Bendigo continue to be home to the world’s longest dragon, it’s Easter Festival will be bigger and better than ever. This is great for jobs, local businesses and Bendigo’s future.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards
“The Easter Festival brings the whole community together each year to celebrate all that is great about Bendigo. With a new Chinese Dragon, this event is set to go from strength to strength.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020