The process to replace Sun Loong is gathering momentum. Photo: BILL CONROY

BENDIGO’s search for a new parading imperial dragon has taken another step forward, following recent meetings between the City of Greater Bendigo, Golden Dragon Museum general manager Anita Jack and  three potential dragon makers in Hong Kong to determine their ability to create Dai Gum Loong.

Dai Gum Loong will replace Sun Loong in the Bendigo Easter Festival gala parade from next year, after which Sun Loong will be restored and retire.

Ms Jack said the challenge was to find a dragon maker who could deliver a high-quality, well-made dragon.

“Sun Loong is of exceptional quality. He is nearly 50 years old and only now starting to show some wear and tear of a life spent entertaining millions of people. We need to ensure that Dai Gum Loong will be made to the same standard and last for a similar amount of time,” she said.

“We have asked each dragon maker to supply us with samples of their work to determine their ability. We are hoping to select someone who still values the traditional methods of dragon making and uses durable, quality fabrics and materials.”

Dai Gum Loong will be more than 100m long and will be created in the same style as Sun Loong and Loong, Bendigo’s first Imperial Dragon.

Ms Jack and Mr Devanny flew to Hong Kong courtesy of Virgin Australia as part of Virgin Australia’s commitment to fly Dai Gum Loong to Australia once he is built.

Dai Gum Loong will be an asset of and partially funded by the City of Greater Bendigo, which is why a staff member also went to Hong Kong.

However, the Bendigo Chinese Association will be the cultural custodian of Dai Gum Loong and he will be on display at the Golden Dragon Museum when not parading.