Update, 12.48pm: AFTER a five-kilometre walk made possible by an estimated 150 people, Dai Gum Loong has settled into Bendigo's Golden Dragon Museum.
The city's new imperial dragon arrived at his new home just after 9am, having walked the more than five kilometres from the Bendigo Airport in roughly 90 minutes.
More than 110 people are believed to have volunteered to help carry the dragon - enough to fill two, 57-seat buses.
Even more people were involved in supporting roles, including police, Golden Square Fire Brigade members and paramedics.
"It was fantastic," Bendigo Chinese Association president and Golden Dragon Museum chair Doug Lougoon said.
He thanked all those involved, including the City of Greater Bendigo.
"Everyone's just jumped on board. We are so grateful for the support we get," Mr Lougoon said.
The walk was almost four times the length of the procession in the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
Dai Gum Loong travelled along Victa Road, Rohs Road, Strickland Road, Nolan Street, and Bridge Street in to the museum.
But what really added to the effort involved in welcoming Dai Gum Loong home today was backing him into the building.
"It probably took as long to square the dragon away in the museum as it took to actually walk the route," Mr Lougoon said.
"It's a bit of a logistical problem - we haven't quite got the space.
"Our museum board is working very hard from the point of view of looking forward to redeveloping the museum, which I'm sure will give us much greater, more flexible spaces than what we've got now."
Mr Lougoon did not expect getting Dai Gum Loong out of the museum ahead of Easter to be as challenging.
He said today's walk was good practice for the Easter festival.
"There was quite a good mixture today of experienced dragon carriers and new dragon carriers and, of course, female carriers for the first time, carrying both the head and the body," he said.
He was pleased with how the walk went.
"There are some things we've found today we'll need to just have a look at during the week and before Easter, just to make sure we've got our relief changing process in a proper process," Mr Lougoon said.
He said the dragon had to be built off-site and walked home.
"It just could not be done any other way," he said.
When Sun Loong arrived in Bendigo about 50 years ago there was still space for him to be assembled at the Golden Dragon museum.
Not so, nowadays.
Mr Lougoon said Sun Loong was built in what is now called the Loong gallery.
This morning's walk to the museum was intended to be low-key. But the people's dragon attracted a number of well-wishers.
Mr Lougoon said he even spotted people with their chairs out along the route, a scene reminiscent of parade day.
"People were quite appreciative," he said.
Ahead of Dai Gum Loong is an eye-dotting ceremony at Girton Grammar School - an important step in bringing him to life.
His eyes and beard were today covered, signs he had yet to be awakened.
The community will be welcome on Easter Saturday to help rouse Dai Gum Loong and the other dragons featuring in this year's Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
All of the city's processional dragoons will parade together on Easter Sunday, including original dragon Loong.
Mr Lougoon said the Chinese Masonic Society, which traditionally accompanied Loong, would be returning to the procession this year.
"It's just going to be one hell of a spectacular Easter," he said.
"We've got more visiting lion teams than we've ever had, more visiting dragons and lots more performing dragons than we've ever had."
He said registration numbers in the Chinese contingent of the parade exceeded 1000 this year.
Visiting teams would be coming from all over Australia, as well as a some instrumentalists and the dragon maker's lion team from Hong Kong.
"It's going to be massive," Mr Lougoon said.
EARLIER: THE 'people's dragon' is making his way through the streets of Bendigo this morning.
Dai Gum Loong is being carried from the Bendigo Airport to his new home at the Golden Dragon Museum.
In what is a spectacular community effort, the dragon is being carried by many members of the community - all who gathered at dawn for the historic event.
Measuring 125 metres and featuring more than 7000 handmade scales, Bendigo's newest dragon was put together in the RMIT hangar at the airport.
Dai Gum Loong arrived in Bendigo as a flat pack and was put together by a team of volunteers led by Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack.
It is now two weeks until crowds of up to 60,000 people will see Dai Gum Loong, Sun Loong and original dragon Loong parade together in the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade.
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