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Re-awakening the Dragon

5 October 2017 - 15 April 2018

Re-Awakening the Dragon unveils the Gold Museum’s extensive Chinese artefact collections, and for the first time in over five decades, will awaken Loong, one of Australia’s oldest processional dragons.

In 1897, Queen Victoria marked her sixty-year reign over the British Commonwealth, and celebrations were held throughout the colonies on Diamond Jubilee Day on 22 June, 1897.

Ballarat’s Chinese community joined the festivities by staging an elaborate procession featuring colourful costumes, dragons, lions, exquisite silk textiles, banners and other regalia. Money was raised to purchase a collection of materials and textiles for the occasion from Canton, China. These included the dragon and lion, now thought to be the oldest documented examples in Australia. Ballarat is now only one of four known sites where a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) dragon survives in whole or part.

In 1962, Ballarat’s most prominent Chinese temple, on Main Road, was closed and the bulk of the temple artefacts were donated to the Ballarat Historical Society.

The donation included rare carvings and altar-pieces from the temple, as well as the 1897 processional material including the textiles, dragon and lion. The collection was transferred to the care of the Gold Museum in the 1970s and 1980s, and has remained in the Museum’s collection stores ever since.

Re-Awakening the Dragon showcases this extensive collection for the first time.
Exhibition dates: 5 October 2017 - 15 April 2018

Help to Awaken the Dragon

Help preserve one of the world’s oldest collections of Chinese processional objects. Dragons, lions and exquisite silk textiles - all part of the rich history of the Chinese community in Ballarat! Click here for more details.