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Docklands Dragon brings luck

A symbol of good luck, in the form of a large-scale Chinese dragon, could be just what Docklands needs as we start the new year.

The 100-metre long, illuminated dragon was constructed at Shed 4 and was unveiled on January 30 in Docklands, coinciding with Chinese New Year’s Eve.

In Chinese culture, the dragon is an auspicious symbol, commonly associated with prosperity and good fortune and, hopefully, the Docklands Dragon is a sign of more good things to come locally.

The dragon will be in Docklands until February 16 and is lit up each night by colourful lanterns.

A Chinese festival is also running in Docklands while the dragon is in town, featuring entertainment, stalls and exhibitions, as part of Melbourne’s wider Chinese New Year celebrations.

Standing 10-metres tall at its highest point, the dragon was created by Chinese design company Sichuan Tianyu.

Eureka Skydeck, in partnership with WTC and the City of Melbourne, commissioned the dragon in the hope that 2014 will be the beginning of a long-term strategy for growing Chinese New Year celebrations across the city

“Melbourne has over 55,000 Chinese residents and there were more then 327,000 visitors to Victoria from China in the last year,” Eureka Skydeck CEO John Forman said.

“New year is the biggest festival on the Chinese calendar and something that Melbourne celebrates within our Chinese precinct. We want to see the celebrations linked with Chinatown, through to Southbank and connect with the Docklands.”

“There had been considerable local Chinese support and advice to bring the Docklands Dragon to life and there is real optimism for growth in future years,” Mr Forman said.

Original plans for Chinese New Year saw the dragon situated at Sandridge Bridge in Soutbank, but Mr Forman said part of the funding agreement with City of Melbourne was that the dragon be installed at Docklands.

The council has contributed $140,000 towards the dragon and Chinese New Year festival at Docklands from its Event Partnerships Program budget.

Councillor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer said the City of Melbourne was delighted to support the event.

“The City of Melbourne is keen for a further enhancement of the Chinese New Year celebrations across the city and I’d encourage all Melburnians to enjoy a night out at a great local restaurant and to see the dragon,” Cr Pinder-Mortimer said.

Mr Forman said it made sense to install the dragon in Docklands at Docklands due to its proximity to the water, with the future plans for Chinese New Year in Melbourne to have events linking down the river and to the waterfront.

“This is part of a bigger push to make Chinese New Year in Melbourne the biggest celebration outside of China,” Mr Forman said.

Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Joh Maxwell said the chamber was very excited about the Chinese New Year festival in Docklands.

“We’re 100 per cent behind this great event and believe the extra visitation will help to raise the profile of our wonderful suburb,” Mrs Maxwell said.

Mrs Maxwell said chamber representatives had visited every restaurant and café in Docklands to ensure they were informed of the event, allowing them to make the most of the opportunity.

She said the chamber had also produced a Docklands map marking all of the local cafes, restaurants, hotels and bars to allow visitors to explore all of the great hospitality offerings available.

The Docklands Dragon can be found at the corner of Harbour Esplanade and Bourke St throughout the Chinese New Year festival, which continues until February 16.

Throughout the festival Docklands visitors and locals can also enjoy traditional Chinese entertainment including music, dance and street theatre from 6.30pm to 7.30 pm nightly, along with a dragon boat exhibition and cultural activities corner.

Chinese merchant stalls will also operate in Docklands from 6pm to 10pm every night of the festival.

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