St Clement's Retreat and Confrence Centre is set in 800 acres of rural land which has been farmed since the late 1820s.
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'.
Comfortable walking shoes are adviseable for 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.
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 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 Boorowa Road.
The centre is 5 klms from the small village of Galong. The Ryan family supported the local community 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.
The Memorial Hall dedicated to the memory of those who served during the Great War, was opened in 1923.
This page last updated: 10 May 2012