dreamcatcher logo

Reawakening St Augustine Church


The original St Augustine’s church was built in 1908 and was the first church in the greater Stilbaai area. In 1988 a new church was built in the main part of Melkhoutfontein, with the original church initially being utilised as a creche. Despite the historical importance of the church, over time it was abandoned, fell into a state of disrepair, and became a focal point for anti-social behaviour. Some graves were also desecrated.

In 2014 Dreamcatcher were approached by the then priest, Father Susan Rhode, the church wardens and the community to help restore it to its former glory and use as a community resource. Moreover as the building was over a century old it was listed with the National Monuments Commission due to its significant historical and cultural importance. 

Image of Church in 2011
The gateway to St Augustine’s church 2010
Windows had been smashed and partly boarded up
Windows had been smashed and partly boarded up
Waste dumped in the church
Waste dumped in the church


Starting at the end of 2015 Dreamcatcher led on the regeneration of the church, this included raising funds to implement the following:

  • Fencing off the church to improve security and prevent further vandalism
  • Removal of the waste in the church including old timber
  • Replacement of windows including wooden frame and reglazing
  • Making repairs to the stonework
  • Replacing the old brick toilet block with one made from stone in keeping with the church
  • Installation of security doors
  • Landscaping the area surrounding the church
  • Installation of new signage
  • Refurbishment of the mausoleum including replacing the roof

This work received much local media coverage. In April 2016 the renovation of the church was formally launched at an event led by the wonderful Father Susan with invited dignitaries including Marisa Gerards (the then Dutch Ambassador to South Africa), Dutch celebrity Karin Bloemen (then ambassador to Dreamcatcher), Emor Nel (then Mayor of Hessequa), and community members.

The church was used for community projects including art classes for the DC Kids, and community exhibitions. Explore the gallery below which records our work transforming this beautiful abandoned building back to its former glory.

We acknowledge the funding from Wilde Ganzen and Dreamcatcher Nederland, and the commitment and efforts of the community for supporting this project.

In 2020 St Augustine’s church took back full custodianship of the church and the surrounding grounds.