This girl’s head-dress is from the Golden Dragon Museum’s collection of processional regalia used in the Bendigo Easter Fair processions, and dates from the 1880s.
It is a headdress for one of the princess characters in the procession, most probably one of the young princesses-in-waiting. The headband is decorated with semi-precious stones and mirrors, and supports a number of three-dimensional dragons in blue and gold. It has a halo of red pom-poms on wire supports and tassels at the sides. (Text taken from The 1880s Processional Regalia of the Bendigo Chinese Association, Golden Dragon Museum, 2010)
The Chinese arrived in Bendigo, Victoria, during the 1850s gold rush. In 1854, it was estimated that over 4,000 Chinese were on the gold fields. In 1871, the Chinese community joined the Bendigo Easter Fair and Procession (which began in 1869) to assist fundraising for charity. Providing music, theatre and acrobatic displays, the Chinese section of the Procession soon became the main attraction. This remarkable collection of 19th Century processional regalia has been preserved by the Chinese community in Bendigo and is held in the Golden Dragon Museum. It is not only a collection of world significance but, importantly, it contextualises and preserves the living heritage of both Victoria and China through the objects and through the ceremonies that continue to be practised today.