BENDIGO'S oldest surviving imperial dragon, Loong, has been given permission to parade in this year's Easter festival.
Heritage Victoria's approval paves the way for an historic moment for the city - all of its processional dragons will appear together to welcome new addition Dai Gum Loong.
"This significant occasion will be Loong's first public appearance in seven years, marking the 140th anniversary of Chinese participation in the Easter parade," Steven Avery, of Heritage Victoria, said.
The almost 120-year-old dragon's participation is contingent on a couple of conditions.
A conservator will accompany and inspect Loong before, during and after the Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade on Easter Sunday.
A report on Loong's condition and any recommendations for further treatment will need to be lodged with Heritage Victoria after the parade.
"We want to ensure this old and fragile piece of history is properly conserved," Mr Avery said.
"Loong and its regalia of Pearl and Flame is historically significant as a rare surviving artefact of historic Chinese cultural practices of dragons participating in community parades."
Loong is believed to be the oldest intact imperial dragon in the world.
He dates back to the Qing dynasty and is understood to have appeared in his first procession in 1901 - the same year Australia became an independent nation.
Loong was placed on the Victorian heritage register in 2007.
He retired from the Easter parade when his successor, Sun Loong, arrived in 1970. But he's been in action since.
Loong helped celebrate Chinese New Year in 2012 - the 'Year of the Dragon'.
He is one of the city's four largest dragons, measuring 29 metres long.
Sun Loong is over 100 metres and was the world's longest imperial dragon until his successor, Dai Gum Loong, came along this year.
The rarely seen night dragon, Yar Loong, is 34 metres long and will also be parading.
"We're all very excited all four large dragons are coming out," Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack said.
She said Loong would receive intensive conservation work in preparation for the Easter festival.
"It's always really good to have the opportunity through Heritage Victoria to apply conservation work to Loong," Ms Jack said.
The Bendigo Advertiser Gala Parade takes place on Easter Sunday.
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