Historical information

Main Street Procession c1900 in front of Methodist Church looking East. Constable on Horseback visible.

Possibly the Ballarat dragon making the date 1906 or it could be the Chinese See Yup Society Dragon, the head of which is still preserved in their South Melbourne temple.

Businesses from left, Carters Boot Shop, Post Office Hotel, G. Mahanke Bakery, J.H. Stabb Stawell Coach Factory, Speedwell Cycles, W.J. Jenkinson Bootmakers, Bone Saddle & Harness Factory, W. Whiteside Taylors.

Big Hill is visible in background and possibly the Market Building roof above the G. Mahnke sign.


In Trove the only mentions of a Chinese parade at Stawell was for Easter Monday 1906, and this occasion did feature a dragon – the costumes, banners, and dragon appear to have been borrowed from Melbourne, and it is suspected that this was the See Yup Society Dragon, the head of which is still preserved in their South Melbourne temple.

At the time that this photo was taken there were only three Chinese communities in Victoria which are now known to have had parade regalia and a dragon – Bendigo, Ballarat, and Melbourne. The Melbourne dragon was the smaller of these, and that seems to match with what you can see in the photo, as does what appears to be a striped horn (frustratingly the pole obscures most of the dragon’s face).
All three dragon heads still survive today, as does some of the original parade regalia, but Bendigo’s collection and dragon is the most complete. The remains of the See Yup Society collection have still to be properly studied and conserved.

I would also note that if this photo was from Easter Monday 1906 then Bendigo and possibly Ballarat Chinese communities would not have been able to make their dragons available as both would have been preoccupied with their own towns’ Easter festivities.

Physical description

Photo taken from the Town Hall balcony of procession looking towards corner of Wimmera Street