If you stand quietly in Bendigo, you can feel the presence of dragons.
Bendigo became the beating heart of the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s and was home to prospectors from all over the world.
It was a particularly popular destination for Chinese prospectors, who named the area 'Dai Gum San', meaning Big Gold Mountain.
The story of these prospectors, their culture and their unique contribution to the history of Bendigo is told at the Golden Dragon Museum.
The museum boasts a stunning collection that includes documents, porcelain, jade and dragons.
In fact, the museum is home to the world's longest and oldest imperial dragons. This includes Loong, Bendigo's oldest dragon, who took part in Melbourne's Federation procession in 1901.
Soon, the museum will also be home to Hawker at the Museum, a first-class indoor and outdoor dining experience featuring delicious Chinese cuisine.
Funded by $1 million from the Victorian Government's Regional Infrastructure Fund and $200,000 from the City of Greater Bendigo, the creation of Hawker at the Museum is part of upgrade works to the front of the museum.
"The museum, at 30 years of age, needed to be refreshed as it wasn’t looking quite as glamorous as it should," said CEO Hugo Leschen.
Hugo is excited for the museum's visitors to experience the facilities first-hand.
"It's important for a public building to reflect its contents. Soon we will have a wonderful restaurant, right next to a world-class collection,” he said.
At its heart, Hugo explains that the Golden Dragon Museum tells powerful stories that can be universally appreciated.
"The stories we tell here are stories of people coming to Australia and making it their home. And that's a great Australian story."
Hawker at the Museum is set to open in mid-2022.