Scott Saddler Gardens

Scott Saddler AM, Executive Branch Manager, National Arboretum Canberra, and Stromlo Forest Park

09 November 2020

Proud Wiradjuri man Scott Saddler AM is asking Canberrans to use NAIDOC Week as an opportunity to stop and reflect on Indigenous culture.

From 8 to 15 November NAIDOC Week invites all Australians to embrace the history of our country. This year’s theme, Always Was, Always Will Be, reinforces the strength and resilience of First Nations Peoples to survive and thrive.

As the Executive Branch Manager of National Arboretum Canberra and Stromlo Forest Park, Mr Saddler said he and his team celebrate Indigenous culture year-round, with tours of the Bush Tucker Garden, weaving workshops and culture craft for kids.

Indigenous artwork by Krystal Hurst that depicts the Arboretum as a meeting place is featured on the Arboretum’s Ngala Tours 12-seater bus as well as on the staff uniforms.

Instead of asking “‘What are we doing for NAIDOC Week?’ we say, ‘We’re doing NAIDOC Week, every week".

He said reconciliation was about closing the gap regarding equality, better life outcomes, health, and employment.

“Reconciliation is good for our people but let’s have it as meaningful, outcome driven and immersive practice for all Australians,” Mr Saddler emphasised.

Mr Saddler is spending NAIDOC Week returning to his hometown of Wagga Wagga, where he will enjoy the company of his Indigenous friends and family.

He said it was a time where “all mobs come together, it’s a place where you culturally feel safe”.

“NAIDOC Week is about letting the non-Indigenous people of Australia understand a bit more about our culture. But also, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feeling culturally safe and being able to express ourselves within those circles,” Mr Saddler said.

“I think for the non-indigenous Australians, it is to try to understand that we’re not asking all of Australians to understand fully about our culture, but to just stop and reflect and to maybe understand a small piece of our culture.”

The National Carillon will be illuminated with Indigenous artworks from 8-15 November

NAIDOC Week in the ACT opened with an Indigenous light spectacular projected onto the National Carillon.

For just the second time in its 50 years, the National Carillon will be illuminated with a series of spectacular Indigenous artworks and designs from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists as part of the first online AIATSIS Indigenous Art Market.

“It takes so much time and effort to paint some of these dot paintings, and to be able to show that to Canberrans and Australians is exceptional. It’s a fantastic way of showing some of our culture,” Mr Saddler said.

To find out more on NAIDOC Week events in Canberra, visit

For more information about the online AIATSIS Indigenous Art Market, please visit

For information on visiting the National Arboretum’s events, visit The Canberra National Arboretum.

All Canberra

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