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  • Shona McCarthy

Chinatown Museum, Melbourne 墨尔本唐人街博物馆

Given the current economic and political climate, Australians have good cause for being reluctant to visit certain locations overseas. But one good replacement can be visiting Chinatown Museum in Melbourne's Chinatown.

(A photo I took during Chinese New Year, 2019.)

To get to it you would walk to the Facing Heaven Archway along Little Bourke Street. Behind this will be a cobblestone court which vaguely resembles a stone garden. As you pass through this, you can stop to take some photos with the Dr Sun-Yat Sen statue at the back. Down the little laneway called Cohen Place you'll see some opulent Chinese doors protected by Chinese lion statues. Admission fees are as follows:

Admission

Adult $11 Concession/Child $9 Family $26 (2 Adult + 3 Children)*Guided tours available, bookings essential


However, during certain events and festivals, entry into the museum can be free. I got to see it free during Chinese New Year. But be warned that on these days, the museum can be unusually crowded and noisy. Paying the entry fee on off days will mean a more quiet visit.


(A beautiful antique cycle rickshaw you can see on the ground level of the museum. Taken by me, 2019.)

(Another view of the ground floor in the Museum. Taken by me, 2019.)


Even as you enter the museum, many beautiful artifacts hang in secretive corners, creating the sensation that no matter how many times you attend the museum, you never really see everything. But there is also the sensation that you are visiting a distinctly Chinese-Australian history.


(Taken by me, 2019.)


The Chinatown Museum is full of many levels which sometimes include temporary exhibitions relating to Chinese culture. There are also many items donated by families who have been in Melbourne for many decades, sometimes dating back to the times of the Australian Gold Rush.


(Photos taken by me, 2018.)


My favourite area in the Museum is the Cantonese Opera tent. There you can try on small pieces of Cantonese Opera costumes and look closely at the costumes worn by the mannequins.

(Taken by me, 2019.)


The most significant and remarkable of all the exhibits at the Museum is probably Dai Loong. Last I saw, he was kept safely in the basement, as he should be. He is Melbourne's biggest and oldest Chinese dragon, and a symbol of the Chinese community in Melbourne. But many other secrets and evocative, imaginative experiences await in this wonderful relic. If you would like more information before making a visit, please see the official website. There are other great locations around the world that make a good substitute for visiting China. Such as Taiwan, or Singapore. Or even if you want to visit Melbourne. If you are planning a budget vacation and want to help me and this blog, you could book your accommodation via this link:


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