The outstanding aesthetic significance of the convent, and in particular its chapel, is witnessed by the thousands of visitors from New South Wales and beyond who come to admire and enjoy it each year.
The Convent of Mercy Singleton, in the heart of the Hunter Valley, is significant for its size, grandeur, uniqueness and architectural interest, as well as for the historic narrative that the site documents. While it encompasses some of the early local church history, the story of this convent is first and foremost the story of a dedicated, intelligent and enterprising group of women whose influence spread well beyond their established roots.
Although typical of the Australian religious “motherhouse” of the nineteenth century, the Convent of Mercy Singleton is rare in its remarkable degree of preservation, which endows it with its unique potential for interpretation.
In its grounds, buildings and contents it holds the memory of a way of life for Catholic women that was once quite common, but is now rapidly disappearing – the life of “the nun”. Its story is representative of the stories of founding convents of nuns throughout the state.
The convent precinct, containing buildings spanning the years from the mid nineteenth century to the late 1920s, and associated with the nearby historic St Patrick’s church, has connections with early significant civil and church
figures including Governor Lachlan Macquarie, John Browne, Archbishop John Bede Polding, Bishops James Murray and Matthew & James Quinn, Cardinal Francis Moran, Deans John Rigney and James Hanly, Reverend Mother Mary Stanislaus Kenny, and Frederick Burnhardt Menkens.
The Original Cottage Convent is the sole survivor in Australia of an unusual form of late-Georgian cottage. The chapel organ is one of the very earliest chamber pipe organs in the country. The Convent cemetery is unique in its location, integrity and historical record. The convent can make the rare boast of much movable heritage intact and in situ.
The site with its heritage collections lends itself in a unique way to historic, architectural and social research.
Heritage Tours consist of an introductory film followed by a walking tour taking in the heritage room, convent, chapel, chancel and gardens and, if time permits, the Sisters' historic cemetery. Commentary from trained volunteer guides. Convent-made catering is also available, but only in conjunction with a tour.
Costs (per person)
|Tour (2 hours)||$11|
|Morning or Afternoon Tea||$5|
|Full Tour (Morning or Afternoon Tea, Lunch & Tour)||$27|
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just come for morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea?
No, our convent-made catering is only available in conjunction with a tour.
Do tours need to be pre-booked?
Yes, you need to pre-book a tour (see our contact page). Unfortunately we cannot usually accommodate same-day tours.
Are coach tours catered for?
Yes, we are specially set up to cater for coach tours. Please contact us to discuss your itinerary.
What is the duration of the tour?
The tour lasts 90 minutes including a film. A further 30 minutes is allowed for arrival, departure, toilet etc. Allow a further 20 minutes for Morning or Afternoon Tea and 30 minutes for lunch.
What times of the year can I book?
Any day by appointment, excluding the Easter weekend.
Is there disabled access?
Yes. The tours include a good amount of walking, but it is all flat, with many places to sit along the way.
Are there refreshments available?
Available for large groups only (15+). Morning and Afternoon Tea consists of home-made biscuits, tea and coffee. Lunch consists of sandwiches, slice, tea and coffee.