'Whole Histories'
Keeping the stories alive

Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2019

St Clement's Retreat and Conference Centre, Galong NSW



St Clement's Retreat and Conference Centre is set in 800 acres of rural land among rolling hills
5 klms from the village of Galong on the south western slopes of NSW.

The centre is the ideal venue for Whole Histories in its tranquil rural setting, free from the distractions of the workplace and everyday life. It is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the expansive rural landscape in the company of others with similar interests.

The tradition of hospitality to all began at Galong when Irish transportee Edward 'Ned' Ryan settled there in the late 1820's. In due time, through the will of his son John Nagle Ryan, the property passed to the Redemptorist Congregation who established a monastery and a juvenate named for St Clement's Hofbauer (1751-1820), in 1918. Some 2,000 young men were educated at Galong before the college closed in 1975. Since that time the Redemptorists have operated a popular retreat centre and presently share the ministry with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Goulburn NSW.

In recent years St Clement's completed a new phase in its evolution with the refurbishment of the monastery and Galong House (c1850), the home of 'Ned' Ryan. Refurbished with modern appointments the monastery has diversified and increased its accommodation, retreat and conference facilities yet retained its historic atmosphere and quiet ambiance. A museum has been developed in the former oratory of Galong House and houses an exhibition 'An Abiding Presence: Galong's Land and People' with objects of historical significance.


The refurbished and enlarged residential facilities at St Clement's Retreat and Conference Centre can comfortably accommodate 100 participants in a range of accommodation. Every room has a view to the surrounding gardens or rural landscape.

In the monastery building the accommodation is in either double or twin ensuite rooms or twin rooms with shared bathroom facilities. A further twin room has an ensuite fitted with facilities for the disabled. Each ensuite room has reverse cycle air conditioning and a telephone. Access to the rooms in the monastery is by lift or conveniently located stairs.

The nearby Retreat Centre has been refurbished and provides single and double rooms with shared bathroom facilities on two levels. Disabled bathroom facilities are available on the ground floor. Access to the upper level is by stairs or external ramp. All rooms are comfortably furnished, air conditioned and have easy access to bathroom facilities. A prublic telephone is available on the ground floor.

Towels and bed linen are provided. Several areas are available where you can make a cuppa and relax, and perhaps catch up with the television news.

Please note that there are no single rooms with ensuite facilites.

Should you require ground floor accommodation please note it on the registration form.

There is plenty of parking with drop off points close to the accommodation locations.


Plentiful, country style meals are served in the main dining room with delicious morning and afternoon teas available in the areas adjacent to the conference room. Meals with the exception of the 'Whole Histories Dinner' which is held in Galong House, are served in the main dining room.

Vegetarian, diabetic and gluten-free diets can be catered and need to be noted on your registration form.

Dinner wines and pre-dinner drinks are provided on Saturday evening and you are welcome to BYO if you have a preferred refreshment for other meals or after hours. Refrigerators are available in the Retreat House and in the upstairs common area in the monastery.


Dress for the weekend is casual but you may want to dress up for dinner in Galong House on Saturday night. The weather in April can be cool but most activities will take place indoors and the monastery buildings are comfortably air conditioned. Comfortable walking shoes are adviseable for excursions beyond the immediate vicinity of the centre. Laundry facilities are available.


The immediate surroundings are a perfect place for quiet contemplation or further afield to explore one of the many walks. The gardens feature tranquil ponds, a labyrinth modelled on the eleven circuit design of Chartres Cathedral in France and seating where you can watch the sun rise on a new day or the magnificent Galong night sky where as one visitor commented - 'It was as if every star in the universe were congregated overhead'.

There are signposted walks to Spring Creek, the Lourdes Grotto, the Circle Walk, Rosary Hill, the wildlife refuge and the restored historic cemetery. Details of the walks will be available in the final program available on arrival and guests are reminded that we share this wonderful rural setting with the local wildlife, including snakes.

The cemetery is of particular interest. Transportee Edward 'Ned' Ryan set aside just under two acres of land as a burial ground, possibly as early as the late 1820s and which may have been consecrated by Bishop Bede Polding on his first visit to Galong in the spring of 1838. Initially used for burials of those who lived and died on Ryan's then vast holdings it became the final resting place for the predominately Irish Catholic population of the area. In time it became the general cemetery for Galong. A feature of many headstones is the reference to birthplaces in far off Irish counties -Tipperary, Clare, Cork and the iconography of shamrocks and Celtic designs. Several monuments, namely those of Ned Ryan's brother's children Anastasia and Lawrence Barry Ryan, the last of the Ryan family, were crafted by Frank Rusconi of Gundagai. 'God's Acre' is a comfortable walk along a well worn path from the main driveway. Vehicle access to the cemetery is available from the main driveway and the Boorowa Road.

The small village of Galong was supported by the Ryan family in numerous ways for almost ninety years, until death claimed Anastasia Barry Ryan, niece of Ned Ryan and the last remaining family member in early 1914. St Michael's Church is a memorial to the Ryans, where every window is dedicated to a member of the family, The two school buildings and the main building of St Lawrence's Retirement Hostel adjoining the church were also erected by the Ryans.

Getting there

To make your car journey to 'Whole Histories' troublefree we have provided illustrated
ravel directions (pdf).

Should you be arriving by XPT book your ticket for Harden the nearest train station. Transport must be booked in advance with us and you will be met when the train arrives at 12.12pm and driven to St Clements and returned on Sunday in time to meet the train at 3.15pn. The cost is $10.00 per person. Please check train timetables when booking your ticket.

A light lunch can be pre-booked to be served on arrival at a cost of $10.00 per person.


Back to event homepage


St Clement's Retreat and Conference Centre

Evening approaches, Galong House (c1850)

Dinner, Galong House

Monastery (1918) and Gartlin Wing (1954)

Typical double room [St Clement's Retreat]

Ensuite [St Clement's Retreat]

Fish pond

Ryan graves, Galong cemetery

View to Rosary Hill (formerly Bushranger's Hill)


Registration Form

Travel directions


All images on this website are the property of the Yass & District Historical Society Inc (unless otherwise stated)
and must not be used for any purpose without the express permission of the Society.

This page last updated: 10 February 2019