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Mark Saddler sees tourism as ideal vehicle to explore Wiradjuri country, culture and language

Destination NSW and Bundyi Cultural Tours shoot at Wagga Wagga.

“When you start to learn the language of the country that you are in, you start to learn more about the country that you are trying to learn about. That is as important for international guests as it is for local people and regional tourists who come in our area.” – Mark Saddler.

We first met Mark Saddler a couple of years ago when his organisation, Bundyi Cultural Tours, had just been designated as a Top Indigenous Destination by Destinations NSW, New South Wales’s tourism authority.

In that first yarn we’d learned about Mark's passion for his country and culture and most importantly his love of Wiradjuri language.

2019 being the International Year of Indigenous Languages it was important to reconnect with him. As we now discovered, he’s since made tremendous strides including obtaining higher teaching credentials and gaining more responsibilities in developing Indigenous tourism across NSW.

Bundyi Cultural Tours are conducted by Mark Saddler in person, a proud Wiradjuri man from whom visitors can learn about the oldest people and culture in the world.

Highlights of the tours include visiting places of Wiradjuri significance, learning about culture, plants, animals, language, tool making and bush tucker. Morning tea and return transfers from accommodation can be included on request.

It is integral that I’m able to share my Wiradjuri tongue. For many years that was taken away from my people and my people could not talk their language for a while. We are able to do it now, publicly, which is very exciting and very nice.

Mark Saddler is grateful for his fortunate family circumstances and connections to elders who've strengthened his knowledge of Wiradjuri language and culture.  He stresses that Wiradjuri was a once a broken language that's now thriving.

“My father is good friends with Uncle Stan Grant senior. Him and Dr Jon Rudder have written many Wiradjuri books. So, I’m very fortunate that I still work very closely with Uncle Stan. He is one of my very dear elders and he instructs me on my language and what I should be doing.”

“The important part in our culture is that we are instructed to listen to our elders and respect them and listen to the people that still talk the language.”

"It is integral that I’m able to share my Wiradjuri tongue. For many years that was taken away from my people and my people could not talk their language for a while. We are able to do it now, publicly, which is very exciting and very nice."

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