Greta a high note of Galong celebration


ONE of Australasia’s most illustrious operatic and concert artists, soprano Greta Bradman, will stretch her vocal chords on March 10 to help celebrate 100 years of Redemptorist service to the community at Galong.

When the first students arrived at the newly minted St Clement’s Monastery in January 1918, ‘Galong Castle’, the famously hospitable home of the Ryan family, had been transformed into a spartan juvenate.

Until the boys carried their own beds upstairs, not a single stick of furniture adorned the dormitory. They carried hot water in kerosene tins for their weekly bath.

Over the years around 900 boys received an education that was, for many, otherwise out of reach. Living conditions gradually improved.

On graduating, a smattering of the boys entered the order, but most returned to families, jobs and secular life.

One of the boys in the hardy first intake was John Kennedy, who became a chaplain in World War II.

The small field mass kit he carried while working on the Thai-Burma Railway is now displayed in the museum of the extensively renovated Galong House.

In 1975 the juvenate closed. Renovations began and St Clement’s Retreat and Conference Centre was born.

Far removed from its spartan beginnings, its reputation for hospitality has come full circle: those who seek spiritual nourishment in the serenity of the gardens, grotto and rural surrounds are assured of palate-tempting nourishment as well.

One hundred years after the first boys sought education at St Clement’s, people still come to the Redemptorist Monastery seeking sustenance for mind, body and soul.

You can be part of the festivities to mark this centenary of community service.

Tickets for Greta Bradman are $60pp, including pre-concert chicken and champagne from 6pm.

Performance begins at 7.45pm.

Tickets are selling quickly.

Phone St Clement’s (02) 6380 5222.

Accommodation available.