(Courtesy Sovereign Hill)
Re-awakening the Dragon
A new exhibition at Sovereign Hill’s Gold Museum features one of the most extensive Chinese artefact collections, and for the first time in over five decades, reawakens Loong, one of Australia’s oldest dragons. “Re-awakening the Dragon” showcases items once used by Ballarat’s Chinese community for social, cultural and religious ceremonies, including the spectacular processional dragon. Another highlight is parts of a processional lion, which, like the dragon, was used by the Chinese community to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 1897 Diamond Jubilee. Both the dragon and lion are the oldest documented examples in Australia, and Ballarat is now only one of four known sites where a Qing Dynasty dragon survives in whole or part. The exhibition also includes costumes and banners used in the celebrations, which included a major procession. Chinese temple artifacts dating back to the 1850–1870s are also on display.