Fresh legs needed for old dragon

DOUG Lougoon has carried Sun Loong the dragon in the Bendigo Easter Festival parade more than 20 times.

Like many others who take on the task, it is a family tradition for Mr Lougoon.

"I'm part Chinese and my involvement goes back 30 odd years," he said.

"I was with my father so there is a little bit of family heritage about it but it is  something great for Bendigo."

But with the Easter festival looming closer, Doug and the Chinese Association are calling on some extra legs to be a part of the procession.

"Some people come back every year because it's a family tradition to carry the dragon but we don’t get a full complement every year,"he said.

"It takes 56 people to carry the dragon but we do need some relief so we are hoping for between 80 and 90 carriers.

"There are also some quite big banners to carry, not just the dragon.

 The Chinese Association and the dragon have been a part of the parade since the late 1800s.

"Going back to when the Chinese were first involved, they raised money for the hospital and people used to pay," Mr Lougoon said.

"We don't expect that now but we still raise money for the hospital.

"You don't have to be Chinese to carry the dragon and it's only slightly strenuous."

Mr Lougoon said the dragon is a highlight of the Easter festival.

"Everyone waits for the dragon," he said.

"We want to make sure it's there every year, we can't do the parade without it.

"Whether the parade route changes or whatever happens, we will always be there."

Sun Loong is the longest Imperial Dragon in the world, being over 100 metres in length. 

Sun Loong is covered in 6000 scales, 90,000 mirrors, 40,000 beads and his head weighs 29 kilograms. 

Currently, the head is carried by fourth and fifth generation Chinese who are members of the Bendigo Chinese Association and whose ancestors arrived from the goldfields.

Because Sun Loong is a male dragon the tradition is that only males can carry him.

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