Government pledges $250,000 to restore Sun Loong and create new imperial dragon Dai Gum Loong

THE funding target to replace and restore Bendigo’s imperial dragon Sun Loong has been exceeded after the federal government announced it would contribute $250,000 to the project.

Senator Derryn Hinch and Liberal Senator Jane Hume visited the Golden Dragon Museum on Thursday to make the announcement.

The Sun Loong 750 campaign was aiming to raise $750,000 to restore the ageing Sun Loong for permanent storage in the musem, and purchase his replacement Dai Gum Loong.

Related: Sun Loong’s replacement named as dragon hunt begins

Construction of the new dragon is set to begin in Hong Kong now that the final funding has been locked in.

Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack said it would take about 12 months to create the new dragon.

“We’re hoping to actually set up a camera in the dragon maker’s workshop so that everyone can see its progress,” she said.

“It gives us enough now to make that deposit, put that order in, and get the ball rolling.

“It’s a great expression of multiculturalism and acceptance of different communities and their cultures within a regional town.”

Senator Hinch visited Bendigo one month ago where he was discussed a list of funding priorities with the City of Greater Bendigo.

The funding campaign for the new imperial dragon caught his interest, and he said he made a call to the Prime Minister’s Office to talk about the funding.

Not long after, confirmation came through.

Senator Hinch said they managed to keep the $250,000 funding a secret until Thursday morning.

“It is extraordinary, I’ve never been inside this museum before,” he said.

“The fact it’s such a liveable museum, that it moves, I didn’t realise that all the exhibits can go out in the parade at Easter, it’s just fantastic.”

Related: Support grows for Sun Loong 750 committee

Bendigo has lobbied the government for the funding for more than 12 months and it remained unclear if it would receive the support.

Similar grants were given out under Building Stronger Communities fund, overseen by former Nationals Senator Fiona Nash who was disqualified from parliament during the dual-citizenship saga.

Senator Hume said the government received “a long wishlist” of funding requests from councils like Bendigo.

“But this is a really important one,” she said.