• Bendigo’s Chinese History

Bendigo’s love affair with Chinese dragons dates back more than 150 years, to the very first Bendigo Easter Festival. 

In 2019 Bendigo welcomed its newest dragon, Dai Gum Loong. He’s 125 metres long, is covered with more than 7000 handmade scales and is thought to be the longest Golden Dragon in the world. 

See him parade the streets each Bendigo Easter Festival, or daily at the Golden Dragon Museum, where he rests with his fellow dragons, including Sun Loong and Loong.
In the mid-1800s, 20 per cent of Bendigo’s population hailed from China. They came as miners and merchants, bringing their customs, culture and beliefs to the goldfields. Today, we treasure the remnants of these. Such as the 1860s Chinese Joss House, one of the oldest examples of its kind in Australia. 

Bendigo’s historic Chinese market gardens and brick kiln has been reinvigorated, and is now home to PepperGreen Farm, a social enterprise leading the way in enriching experiences for people of all abilities. Meanwhile, White Hills Cemetery is worth a visit to see its traditional monuments to Chinese miners who lost their lives on the goldfields. 

Learn the full story of Chinese history in Bendigo at the Golden Dragon Museum. Built on the site of the Chinese camp, the museum is also at the beating heart of the Bendigo Easter Festival.

Australia’s longest-running cultural festival began in 1871, when the community united to raise funds for the Sandhurst Benevolent Asylum and Hospital. To contribute, the Chinese community arranged for scores of cultural treasures to be sent from their homeland; embroidered costumes, traditional banners, richly carved iron-wheeled vehicles, and the legendary dragon Loong. These were to feature in the first Bendigo Easter Festival, which raised 1000 pounds for the health care cause. Today the festival still honours Bendigo’s Chinese connections. 

The museum takes pride of place in the Dai Gum San precinct, which also features the Yi Yuan Gardens and Kuan Yin Temple; home of the Goddess of Compassion. Many cultural events happen here throughout the year. Otherwise, it’s a peaceful place to visit at any time.