Please help us 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!
A regular feature of processions and festivals since 1897, the collection passed into the care of the Ballarat Historical Society when the Temple on Main Road was demolished in the early 1960s. The significance of the collection, now in the care of the Gold Museum, is enormous. Conservation and preservation are a priority.
These Ballarat Chinese processional objects are internationally significant as part of the important cultural contribution of the Chinese to the Ballarat goldfields region. The dragon and lion are the oldest documented examples in Australia.
The Ballarat Chinese community carried out the fundraising for these objects in 1897, ordering them from a factory in the Chinese Province of Canton - a common occurrence during a time when China was manufacturing and shipping processional objects around the world for the Chinese diaspora.
Ballarat is now one of only four known sites where a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) dragon survives in whole or part.
While Bendigo’s dragon, Loong, is well known, Ballarat’s dragon has slumbered in storage for many years.
It is now time to awaken the dragon!
What needs to be done
Conservation of historically significant artefacts is a highly skilled and expensive process. The dragon (head and tail) and the lion are made of paper and cane and have been painted over many times. The cane structure needs to be re-aligned and re-connected while the tears in the paper need to be repaired.
Conservation cleaning will remove the years of grime and help to determine some of the original paint work.
The silk textiles, all heavily embroidered, require the most care. As silk breaks and shatters over time, its metallic threads and beads have to be re-attached, and the fabric must be carefully cleaned. Time-consuming and specialised, this task will be the most painstaking. Research into the techniques used to create these textiles 120 years ago will be required, and there is every chance that new exciting knowledge about the creation of Chinese textiles from that period will be acquired in the process.
How can you help?
The Sovereign Hill Museums Association’s collection has been greatly enriched by generous donors and supporters since its founding in 1970. To support our conservation and preservation work, we ask you to consider donating to the Awaken the Dragon Appeal.
All donations will be used directly to conserve the Chinese processional objects. Donations are endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift, and will be placed in a dedicated account.
If you share our passion for history and collections, please consider donating to assist us in caring for these rare and precious objects by completing the donation form.