Loong to Loong walk, from Ballarat to Bendigo, reaches the Golden Dragon Museum

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LION dancers led a procession of walkers completing the final steps of a four-day journey.

The ‘Loong to Loong’ walk, from Ballarat to Bendigo, was intended to highlight the conditions endured by Chinese prospectors travelling to the goldfields 160 years earlier. 

Discriminatory taxes and restrictions precluded Chinese prospectors from arriving at Victorian ports.

So they landed in Robe – along South Australia’s Limestone Coast – and walked to the goldfields.

A formal apology from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews concluded a 20-day walk from Robe to Melbourne earlier this year.

The Loong to Loong walk started at the Sovereign Hill Gold Museum on Saturday morning and ended at the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo about 3.15pm on Tuesday.

Members of the Bendigo Chinese Association welcomed the walkers to the city.

People stopped to watch as the procession made its way from Rosalind Park via Pall Mall.

“It’s important not to forget the hardships of the early Chinese,” Bendigo Chinese Association president Doug Lougoon said. 

The initiative attracted about 25 participants from a variety of backgrounds.

The Chinese Australian Cultural Society Ballarat organised the walk, with support from a number of organisations.

Those involved included the Ballarat Sovereign Hill Gold Museum, Creswick Railway Workshops Association, Maldon Vintage Machinery Museum, Bendigo Chinese Association, Golden Dragon Museum and Chinese Community Council of Australia.

In addition to honouring the legacy of the prospectors, Chinese Australian Cultural Society Ballarat president Michelle Philips said the walkers hoped to raise money to repair the Dergholm Community Hall.

The Victorian town, near the South Australian border, was one of many the ‘Loong to Loong’ walk passed through.

Organisers said the people of Dergholm had gone out of their way to help with the walk in May.

“As they did back in the 1850s, helping Chinese gold miners walk from Robe to the Victorian goldfields,” a statement said.

By helping raise support for much-needed repairs, Mrs Philips was hopeful the initiative would give back to the community.

Other communities visited during the walk included Newstead, Maldon, Creswick, Smeaton and Strathlea.