A Simple Explanation of Cremations

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

Whatever your reason for choosing a cremation, knowing what is involved can help you cope with the process of saying goodbye to a loved one.

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 your family so you can memorialise your loved one however you choose.

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 all the way through the process.

What steps are involved in a cremation?

Before a cremation takes place, it is common for most families to hold some form of funeral service. That being said, 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, please contact us for an obligation free conversation.

After the funeral service, the deceased is collected and transferred in their coffin or casket to a cremation facility. Here a number of checks are carried out to guarantee the identity of the body as well as to make sure all the correct paperwork is in order. Once this has been 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 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 casket is inserted into the cremator. It can take upwards of 90 minutes at 1,000 degrees Celsius for the body and casket to be fully cremated. Depending on the size of the deceased, it may take even longer. After this the remains are cooled and collected, then 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 that was on the coffin, and then the cremator, is affixed to this container. From this point, the ashes are ready to be returned to the family. 

How do you memorialise a loved one after cremation?

Creed Memorial Niche Wall at Rookwood Memorial Park

For many families, memorials are not considered until after the funeral and cremation. There are three options that most families tend to choose; distribute the ashes among family members, scatter the ashes or place them in a memorial. It could even be a combination of the three. In each case it is entirely up to your family which is the right choice for your loved one.

There are some important things to consider when scattering your loved one’s ashes however. If you choose to do this in a public place like a beach or park, you may need to get council permission to do so. It is also worth thinking about the location you choose, as it may not always remain a public space. For this reason, a memorial garden is often preferred over scattering ashes elsewhere.

In a memorial park you may scatter the ashes in a designated location or place the ashes in a permanent memorial like a wall niche or in a garden that family and friends can visit. If you have any questions on this, your Simplicity funeral director can help put you in touch with the appropriate cemetery or memorial park.