Home » World’s oldest Chinese dragon vandalised in attack on Australian museum

World’s oldest Chinese dragon vandalised in attack on Australian museum

According to Leschen, CCTV footage shows a group consisting of two adults and two young children entering and paying their admission to the museum.

It is alleged that the two adults sprayed the dragons and then drove to the nearby Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, a significant Buddhist site and the largest stupa in the Western world.

According to Great Stupa chairman Ian Green, the man and the children engaged the monk inside the stupa in conversation while the woman allegedly sprayed the substance elsewhere in the temple.

Green said it’s not just vandalism. “It’s really clearly targeted, and it’s more accurately described as likely to be a hate crime,” he said. “It’s got all the hallmarks of a hate crime, targeting the Chinese museum and targeting basically every holy object we have inside and outside the stupa.”

Several Buddhas inside the stupa were targeted, as were Hindu, Jewish and Sikh installations and a St Francis statue.

“We were targeted, as was the Great Stupa, and it was done with great intent – and that’s a shocking thing, that people would have such disrespect for the heritage and the culture that is held here,” said Leschen.

“They’ve driven to us first and then driven out to the Great Stupa. That would suggest to me forethought, planning and a degree of determination.”

He is unsure whether the dragons, which are culturally and historically significant, were seen as religious objects or not. “If so, that’s a misunderstanding of their purpose,” he said.

The first Chinese dragon was imported from southern China to Bendigo more than 100 years ago and paraded from 1892 to 1898.

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The unbroken lineage of the Chinese community’s involvement in the Easter Fair and the parading of the dragons is of international significance, explained Leschen. The event is designed to raise money for local hospitals.

Police say the two children present were not involved in the incident. The group left the scene in a silver Toyota Prado. Investigators have released images of two people they believe may be able to assist with their inquiries.

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