Bendigo’s new Imperial-style Dragon Dai Gum Loong made his debut in Bendigo at the 2019 Gala Parade.
The beautifully ornate dragon was constructed in Hong Kong by celebrated dragon maker, Master Hui, using traditional dragon-making techniques. Dai Gum Loong replaced retiring dragon Sun Loong in the Gala Parade and will continue a proud tradition of parading Imperial style Dragons in Bendigo dating back to 1892 when the city’s first dragon, Loong, appeared in the parade.
Dai Gum Loong is 125m long and has more than 7,000 scales. He is protected by two gold and silver lions and accompanied by a unicorn, a heavenly creature that symbolises long life, celebration and magnificence. As Dai Gum Loong is a 21st century dragon, he will also be a champion for equality and men and women will carry him in the parade. Previously only men had been allowed to carry Imperial-style Dragons.
As Dai Gum Loong was being built, Sun Loong has undergone a restoration to prepare him for his final parade appearance in 2019 and to prolong his life. The works will ensure he is in good condition to parade on special occasions in the future and that his colours remain vibrant while he is on display in the Golden Dragon Museum.
More than 1,000 of Sun Loong’s scales were restored in Hong Kong under the watchful eye of dragon maker Ringo Leung, while a local conservator restored his head, neck and tail. The remaining 5,000 scales will be restored locally.
The construction of Dai Gum Loong and the restoration of Sun Loong has been funded by the Australian Government, Victorian Government, City of Greater Bendigo and private donations.