Dai Gum Loong constructed and unveiled for first time

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The City of Greater Bendigo and Golden Dragon Museum’s new Golden Dragon, Dai Gum Loong, has been unveiled and inspected by Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke, Premier for Victoria Daniel Andrews and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan.

The beautifully ornate dragon has been assembled for the first time by a team of volunteers and measures 125m long and has more than 7,000 handmade scales.

Dai Gum Loong is considered a water dragon, so the scales on the back of his neck and the blue fins around his face represent him morphing from a carp into a dragon. The mirror in the middle of his head is to ward off bad luck.

His cheeks feature the infinity knot symbol representing never-ending good luck, peony flowers to signify virtue, butterflies to symbolise long life and the longevity symbol, as the brief for the dragon maker was to create a dragon to last 100 years.

Dai Gum Loong also features two long horns like Bendigo’s other Golden Dragons Loong and Sun Loong, while the black and gold brocade on his head and tail represents the winding dragon path, as it is believed dragons should not walk in a straight line.

Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the countdown was on to a memorable Bendigo TAFE Bendigo Easter Festival.

“Our community should be very excited about Dai Gum Loong’s debut on the streets of Bendigo in the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade and we are delighted that the Premier has been able to visit and inspect him before he wows the crowds at Easter,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“This Easter will be one for the record books and it is wonderful that Dai Gum Loong is now here, constructed and ready to go.”

Golden Dragon Museum General Manager Anita Jack said the construction process had been relatively seamless.

“The dragon’s body was flat packed into four boxes, which we then assembled over a week by building his bamboo skeleton and applying the skirt and scales. The head and tail arrived in a separate box and were attached last,” Ms Jack said.  

“The building process has been a wonderful collaboration between private business and community groups coming together to build our new-generation dragon.

“This project has brought together a range volunteers that have contributed by sharing their skills in lock tying, wood turning, and sewing and preservation. Bendigo Chinese Association and Golden Dragon Museum volunteers also assisted with decorating the dragon.

“Many hands make light work and it took only a week to assemble Dai Gum Loong. We are grateful to everyone who supported this exciting next chapter of Bendigo’s Chinese history.”

Dai Gum Loong was made in Hong Kong by celebrated dragon maker, Master Hui. Dai Gum Loong will be a champion for equality and start a new tradition for parading Golden Dragons in Bendigo, so women and men will be able to carry him. Previously only men had been able to carry Golden Dragons.    

This project has included the creation of Dai Gum Loong and the restoration of Sun Loong. The Australian Government committed $250,000, the Victorian Government committed $250,000, the City of Greater Bendigo committed $100,000 and there were also many generous donations from members of the public and community organisations.

The City and Golden Dragon Museum are also grateful to the following businesses and community groups for their support: Powers Country Express and Virgin Australia (transportation), British Sporting Cars Australia, Australian Race and Rally Services, and Powercor (construction volunteers), Bendigo Woodturners (wooden stand construction) and the Bendigo Embroiders Guild (Dai Gum Loong construction and Sun Loong restoration).

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