Dreamcatcher South Africa NPC

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 Rhoode, 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
Smashed and partly boarded up windows
Windows had been smashed and partly boarded up
Waste dumped in church
Inside 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.

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

  • Image of St Melkhoutfontein in its full glory
  • Exterior of the church in 2011
  • Main entrance to the church in 2012
  • Main entrance to the church in 2015
  • Inside of the church in 2015
  • Stone work being damaged and in need of repair
  • Graves damaged and littered
  • Mausoleum inside
  • The toilet block in state of disrepair in 2015
  • Start of the upgrade
  • Repairing the floor in February 2016
  • Anthea who oversaw the project looking happy
  • One last step to give the floor a good clean
  • Inside work completed - now for the external work
  • Repointing the stonework
  • Re-glazing the broken windows
  • Window frames stained
  • Beth clearing up the outside of the church
  • The transformation complete
  • Old toilet block being broken down
  • Building new toilet block using local stone
  • Installation of tank for new toilet block
  • Completed toilet block
  • Installation of new fencing
  • New fencing installed
  • New sign
  • Celebration of church
  • Father Susan formally opening the refurbished church
  • Then Dreamcatcher ambassador, dutch celebrity Karin Bloemen addressing guests
  • Marisa Gerards (the then Dutch Ambassador to South Africa) addressing guests
  • DC Kids performing to guests at the launch event
  • The church has been used as a venue to engaged with local youth....
  • .....community events....
  • ...activities with the DC Kids.....
  • and art classes