Knowing what is involved in a cremation can help you cope with the process of saying goodbye to a loved one

Help & Advice

A simple explanation of cremations

More than 70% of Australians choose to be cremated instead of buried – this might be for religious reasons or simply because cremations can be more affordable.

What is a cremation?

Cremation is one of the most common methods for disposing of a deceased’s body in Australia. This is done by placing the body inside a purpose built cremator for 1-2 hours and exposing it to extremely high temperatures. The final ‘ashes’ are then collected in a container and given to the family.

Cremations should always be carried out by reputable crematoria who follow the guidelines set by their state governments. They should have policies and procedures in place to make sure that the identity of the deceased and ashes are known throughout the process.

What are the steps involved in a cremation?

Before a cremation takes place, it's common for most families to hold some form of funeral service. Funerals in Australia are no longer as rigid and traditional as they once were – many people now choose to think of them as a ‘Celebration of Life’.

If you or someone you know need help arranging a simple and affordable funeral, you can call us on 1300 556 222 for an obligation-free conversation.

After the funeral service, the deceased is collected and transferred, in their coffin or casket, to a cremation facility. There a number of checks are carried out to guarantee the identity of the body and to make sure the correct paperwork is in order. Once completed the casket is transferred to the cremation room and placed upon a purpose built trolley. The cremator operator will then remove the name plate that is attached to the coffin or casket and place it in a slot on the cremator – this name plate stays with the body at all times throughout the process.

Once a final check is completed, the coffin or casket is inserted into the cremator. It can take upwards of 90 minutes at 1,000 degrees Celsius for the everything to be fully cremated. Depending on the size of the deceased, it may take even longer. Afterwards the remains are cooled and collected, and any bone fragments are transferred to a processor to reduce them to a fine powder. This powder is then transferred to an ash container. The original name plate is then affixed to this container. The ashes are now ready to be returned to the family. 

How do you memorialise a loved one after cremation?

For advice about how to memorialise a loved one after a cremation, read our guide to what you can do with ashes.