Welcome to St Clement’s Retreat & Conference Centre at Galong, just off Burley Griffin Way between Yass and Harden NSW.

St Clement’s has a rich and colourful history dating back to the 1830’s which today has been transformed into a contemporary, well resourced retreat and conference centre set on 800 acres in a tranquil, picturesque setting. Conducive to reflection, prayer and study on the one hand and conferencing and meetings on the other, St Clement’s has recently been refurbished with modern, air conditioned facilities. It has a peaceful ambience that will meet the needs of both individuals and groups.

Whether for retreat or conferencing, you will enjoy the hospitality of our friendly, attentive staff, great country style cooking, and extensive facilities.

For those seeking a retreat, we have several chapels, outdoor prayer spaces, a grotto and labyrinth for prayer and reflection.

Our bookshop stocks a range of religious goods and publications as well as wide range of inspirational giftware and historical publications.

At St Clement’s we are proud of what we can offer and assure you of a warm welcome should you choose your next retreat or conference with us. We are located a little over an hours drive to Canberra and close to bus and train routes (we’ll pick you up and drop you off), our prices are modest but our service is exceptional.

Please feel free to contact us to enquire about your needs or those of your organization.

Welcome to St Clement’s Retreat & Conference Centre is a mission of the Redemptorists. To learn more about the Redemptorists, please click HERE.

History

Occupation by the traditional custodians of the land predates the arrival of Europeans by possibly some 40,000 years. These original inhabitants probably shaped the landscape by their ‘fire stick’ farming practices to provide grazing areas for the animals that they hunted for food and little tangible evidence remains.

The tradition of hospitality to all began at Galong when Irish transportee Edward ‘Ned’ Ryan settled there in the late 1820’s. The Ryans introduced new forms of agricultural practice and these resulted in wealth and success for them and ultimately, the wider community. In due time, the last of the Ryans died without issue and through the will of Ned’s son John Nagle Ryan, the property was passed onto the Redemptorist Congregation who established a monastery and a juvenate named for St Clement Hofbauer (1751-1820), in 1918.

Some 2,000 young men were educated at Galong before the college closed in 1975 and a retreat house was established. The Ryan legacy includes examples of interesting architecture, some of which has survived for almost 160 years and the Redemptorist Fathers, who through diligence and dedication have added to the substantial group of buildings evident today. From the earliest days of the Redemptorist’s mission the priests, brothers and students who lived here contributed to the farm’s viability and sustainability.

Between 2004 and 2013 the complex underwent a series of physical and functional transformations, with improvements to the accommodation and conference facilities.

The Redemptorist’s strong sense of the history of the site in all its previous manifestations has been encouraging and instrumental in the development of the museum.

St Clement’s acknowledges the traditional Custodians of the land.

The Castle

Galong House was called a “Castle” not because of its magnificence, but because of the princely hospitality. Ned Ryan’s son, John, became a member of Parliament and in his will left the property to the Catholic order known as the Redemptorists.

By the terms of John Nagle Ryan’s will, Galong Castle and 800 acres was bequeathed to the Cistercians of Melleray in Ireland and in the event of the monks not accepting his offer, to the Redemptorists of NSW.

Ryan’s sister, Anastasia, was to have possession of the Castle while she lived. She died on 12th July 1900. The Cistercians took a formal vote on the Galong foundation on the 25th August 1900. They voted in favour of the Australian foundation and yet three years later, they made a formal renunciation of any right to the Galong property.

Dr John Gallagher became Bishop of Goulburn in 1900 and when he was in Rome, he obtained a document from the Redemptorists in which he said the latter gave up all claim on their part to Galong. He was apparently concerned for the welfare of his diocese when both Cistercians and Redemptorists had apparently renounced the bequest.

A subsequent “friendly lawsuit” decided the question of the legal right to the Galong property. It was tried in 1914. It was ruled that the Redemptorists was a “charitable body”, that the Cistercians were not as they follow the Rule of St Benedict, which is not considered a manual of charitable conduct. Insofar as they are contemplatives, they did not come under the legal concept of a charity.

Legal expenses of nearly 600 pounds were paid by the Redemptorists who laid the foundation stone of the new establishment in 1917.

The Redemptorists


St Clement’s Retreat & Conference Centre is a Redemptorist apostolate named after St Clement Hofbauer.

The Redemptorists are a religious congregation of priests and brothers within the Catholic Church who live in community for the sake of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially among people on the margins of society and church.

Founded in southern Italy in 1732 by St Alphonsus Liguori, Redemptorists are in a majority of countries across the world. Most of our members belong to the Roman Church (Rite), but we have members also in other Churches (Rites) who are in communion with the Holy See.

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