Historical information

This banner was one of five banners gifted to the Beechworth Chinese community in recognition of their support of the Hospital and Benevolent Asylum in 1875, from the Carnival Committee. These banners had been purchased in China by a social envoy from Beechworth then presented to the Chinese community during the Beechworth Fine Arts Exhibition in May of that same year, by Donald Fiddes, President of the Ovens District Hospital.

The Burke Museum's Chinese Collection presents the history of Chinese settlement in Beechworth from 1856 and its involvement in local community affairs in the second half of the 19th century. In settling in the area they formed their own community with distinctive Chinese cultural traditions, forming their own 'camps' with laid out streets, housing a Temple, Chinese Theatre and restaurants, hotels, stores, gambling houses and dwellings. Members of the Chinese community took an active interest in town affairs and were generous donors to the appeal to build the Ovens District Hospital in 1856/7. The vibrant colours and dynamic graphics of the silk embroidered Chinese banners were a highlight of Beechworth Charitable processions that took place in the main street.

Two of the Chinese banners were conserved for the Burke Museum in 2006 by Carol Campbell of Phoenix Conservation Services with funding from Victoria’s Heritage Grants. In 2015, with the enormous support of the Copland Foundation and fundraising activities by the Friends of the Bur Museum Committee, conservation of the third banner was undertaken by Artlab Australia in Adelaide.


The banners display traditional Chinese textile techniques and are visually beautiful and very rare and are considered of local and national significance, with the potential to be deemed internationally significant.

Physical description

Multi panelled banner with embroidery and applied design motifs on front. The front panels have been constructed using strips of various weaves and colours of silk that have been embroidered or had a design applied prior to the overall construction of the piece. The embroidery is predominantly gold work with both plyed and floss silk threads.