The world’s longest dragon Dai Gum Loong has arrived in Bendigo, ahead of its unveiling at the city’s iconic Easter Festival thanks to funding from across the community and the Andrews Labor Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and members of the Bendigo community to get a sneak-peek of Dai Gum Loong – ‘Big Golden Dragon‘ – ahead of its first Easter parade.
The record-breaking dragon, made by Master Hui – one of Hong Kong’s youngest practitioners of this ancient art form – has more than 7,000 scales combining traditional painting and weaving techniques, and natural resources like bamboo and silk, to create the entirely hand-made dragon for festivals and celebrations.
Bendigo has long had a tradition of parading imperial-style dragons with Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum’s first dragon, Loong, brought to Victoria by the Bendigo Chinese Association in 1892.
Since 1970, Sun Loong – ‘the New Dragon’ – has been the headline attraction of the Easter Festival, and a major contributor to tourism and local jobs, with the long running festival attracting 60,000 visitors each year.
Now, the time has come to hand over a new dragon, with the recently restored and preserved 49 year-old Sun Loong set to make its last Easter performance 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 for more than 1,000 years.
For the first time, men and women will carry the dragon in the Easter parade, breaking with a centuries old Chinese tradition which has seen only men allowed to carry the dragons.
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.
The Labor Government contributed $250,000 towards the design and construction of Dai Gum Loong. A number of other organisations and supporters have also contributed to the $750,000 project, including local community members, the Commonwealth Government, Virgin and the City of Greater Bendigo.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Bendigo has been a vibrant home for the Chinese community for more than 150 years. It’s a great honour to help celebrate this heritage by delivering Bendigo’s newest dragon.”
“As the longest dragon in the world, Dai Gum Loong will attract visitors, boost local jobs and ensure the Chinese community’s proud history in Bendigo lives on.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan
“Bendigo already has a fantastic Easter Festival and with Dai Gum Loong set to soar, it will be bigger and better than ever. This is great for jobs, local businesses and Bendigo’s future.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020