Chinese Princess 1961
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Bendigo Chinese Association
This image, taken around 1961, shows Lorraine Kum Too dressed in the processional regalia of the Princess. The Chinese Princess role is similar to its male counterpart, the General, as it is a highly regarded position. The recipient is a member the Bendigo Chinese Association, she must have been an active member from a young age, participating in cultural activities as a member of a Bendigo Chinese Association performing team. (These teams include Lion, Dragon and Dancing). Currently the Chinese Princess is nominated by the Chinese Community each year. The coming of age has changed over time, and is now the age of 16.
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.