Ballarat dragon (Loong), circa 1897

Re-Awakening the Dragon showcases the Gold Museum’s extensive Chinese processional and temple collections. The exhibition will feature 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

Awaken the Dragon Appeal

Dragon scales, circa 1897

Dragon scales, circa 1897

 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 1898, 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 tremendous. Conservation and preservation are a priority.

Basic conservation has been carried out to protect the objects, but further work is needed due to the fragile nature of the pieces. Intensive conservation is a highly skilled and expensive process. Therefore, the Gold Museum has launched the Awaken the Dragon Appeal to raise much-needed funds to carry out the next stage of the conservation process.

The Sovereign Hill Museums Association’s collection has been greatly enriched by the generosity of donors and supporters since it was founded in 1970. To support this important conservation and preservation work, we are asking you to consider donating to the Re-Awaken the Dragon Appeal.

Every dollar donated will be used directly in the conservation of the Chinese processional objects.  Your donation to The Sovereign Hill Museums Association, a not-for-profit organisation endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient, will be placed in a special account created for this purpose.

If you share our passion for history and collections, please consider donating to assist us in caring for these rare and precious objects.

Interested in donating to the Awaken the Dragon Appeal?  More information here

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