Our walking tour provides opportunities to gain an understanding into key locations within one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world and its influence on Chinese history and culture in Australia. We provide students with Chinese astrology symbols, multicultural identities, quizzes, food samples and activities as well as access to contemporary and historical locations eg street art.
The Chinese New Year Festival is held in February/March each year. Celebrations feature traditional and contemporary Chinese cultural activities and festivities, dances, Chinese opera and singing, karaoke competition, numerous stalls of culinary delights, arts and crafts, Feasting, firecrackers, Chinese chess competitions, lion dances, dragon parades, calligraphy and children’s events. Several lanes are illuminated.
During the Dragon’s Awakening Ceremony, the Millenium Dragon parades through the streets of Melbourne starting in Little Bourke Street. Mabel and David Wang helped restore the craft of Dragon-making to the world when they assisted a town in China to build Dai Long, our second dragon.
- Corrs Lane in China town is the smallest lane in Melbourne and connects to the Greek Precinct
- Corner Market Lane is the Chinese Mission and the former Kuo Ming Tang building. The lane houses the famous Flower Drum restaurant founded by the Lau family.
- China Square holds the Heavenly Gates of Nanking, the monument to China’s first president and the Cohen brothers cabinet making building, now the Chinese museum.
- The Facing-Heaven Archway,
- Sun Yat Sen memorial.
- The Chinese Museum houses the three historic dragons of Melbourne. Other dragons can be found engraved and marked around the city.
- The Chinese warehouse 1888 is at 112-114 Little Bourke Street, an historic Boom period 1887 Sum Kum Lee building owned by ship-owner and philanthropist Sum Kee. The name of the architect is in the lane beside it: Charles De Lacey Evans.At 116-18 is a former Chinese Gospel Hall now called Ancient Times House (former home of the Archaeological Association).
- The Chinese evangelist Hall is corner Lt Bourke and China square.
- Croft Lane is the home of the ragged schools, street artists and the rear of the Chinese mission by famous civil rights campaigner Reverend Cheong.
- Waratah lane is the home of Chinese gambling hall and, Squizzy Taylor two up schools.
- Queen Victoria centre is the home of the suffragette hospital.
- On the corner of Heffernan Lane and Lt Bourke Street is the oldest church in China town the beautiful and tiny Chinese Methodist Church 1865, still used each Sunday morning.
- At 11 Heffernan Lane is the former first purpose built Chinese restaurant (1890s) the Chung Wah.. The Chinese grocery is opposite.
- The oldest Chinese temple in Australia-Num Pon Soon -1861 is at 200 – 202 Little Bourke Street.
- Celestial Lane (Chinese were once called celestials) has several Chinese boarding houses from the nineteenth century built at numbers 15-17, 16-18 by the See Yup Society.
- Tattersall Lane is a glimpse of old Melbourne before the recent boom. The two Shanghai Noodle Houses represent 1800s cuisine.
We can also explore other important Chinatown themes:
– Australia’s early social welfare reforms
– Melbourne boom, heritage and modern architecture,
– Street art
– Early Christian Missions
– The labour movement
– Suffragette movement
– Outcasts of Melbourne – The Vagabond and Marcus Clarke
– Organized 1920 crime eg gambling, sly grog etc, Squizzy Taylor etc.
– Greek precinct
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