Chinese New year Celebrations in Melbourne

Lord of Fortune
Lord of Fortune

Melbourne play host to a number of Chinese New year Celebrations. Docklands, Federation Square and China town being the main centers of attraction, provides the visitors with unique experience on Chinese art and cuisine. Box hill another Chinese dominant suburb attracts around 80000 spectators every year for the Chinese New year Celebrations. The lion dance, Traditional Folk music, Martial art and Chinese dance performances, by both ingrown and artists from main land china makes this special occasion exceptional. The images you find in this article are from 2015 Chinese New year Celebrations at the Federation Square.

Chinese Fan Dance
Chinese Fan Dance

2015,  The year of the Goat

Chinese Lantern Dancers
Chinese Lantern Dancers

Year 2015 is the year of the Goat for the Chinese. The goat comes 8th in the zodiac. The other 11 animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Chinese plate trick

The history of Chinese New Year Celebrations in Melbourne

Before the 1920’s, traditionally Chinese New year was marked by worship at the See Yup Temple. After the 1930’s  the celebrations were subdued. From the 1980’s the Government started promoting the celebration of Chinese New year. In 1984 the Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival Committee arranged public celebrations in the Little Bourke and Russel Streets.

Chinese Dance2

From the 1990’s Melbournians of varied back grounds flocked to watch and participate in city and suburban festivities. Activities organized through the Federation of Chinese associations received Government and business support. Chinese New year became a key event listed in Victoria’s international and tourist Calendar.

Chinese New year Celebrations Federation Square Melbourne

Brief info about Chinese Community in Melbourne

Chinese artists

The Chinese first arrived in Melbourne in significant numbers during the Gold rush of the 1850’s . They were predominantly Cantonese speaking male villagers mostly from Guangdong Province. On those days, the Chinese were just 3%of Victoria’s population. As gold mining declined, Chinese started settling in Melbourne leaving the mining towns. After the 1880’s the Government policies were more or less directed against the Chinese Community. Due to this the Chinese population in Melbourne shrunk. From a population of 12128 Chinese in 1880’s,  by 1947 there were only 1261 Chinese in Victoria.

Chinese dancers outside

After the decline in Mining activities, many metropolitan Chinese workers became market gardeners in suburbs like Brighton, Camberwell, Coburg and Hawthorn. During 1902 – 21 the Chinese were the major vegetable cultivators and distributors in Melbourne.

Chinese dance3

Though some Chinese lived in the suburbs, most resided within the City of Melbourne. The concentrated settlement around Little Bourke Street east of Swanston Street was community’s commercial, manufacturing and organisational heart. Its residents found employment in food, furniture manufacture, restaurants, warehouses and shops. Gambling and opium rooms provided entertainment for the community.

outside fed square chinese newyear

From the 1950’s Australia’s restrictive laws relaxed. This improved the situation for the Chinese population in Melbourne. After 1975, non-discriminatory laws resulted in the flow of Chinese to Australia.

Lord of fortune


The Encyclopedia of Melbourne  – Andrew Brown – May and Shurlee Swain

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