This guide sets out everything you need to know when choosing and finding a cemetery in Australia. It overs the following topics:
- Types of Cemeteries
- How to Choose a Cemetery
- List of Cemeteries in Australia
- Australian Cemeteries Index
1. Types of Cemeteries
For some, the task of finding a cemetery is unnecessary as they may already have a pre-purchased grave plot or a family connection to a particular cemetery. However, many of us need to start from scratch.
The first step is deciding the type of cemetery you are looking for. There are 4 main types of cemeteries in Australia:
- Not-for-Profit Cemeteries – usually owned and administered by a trust that is accountable to state Government.
- For-Profit Cemeteries – owned by a corporation and operated for the purpose of generating a profit for shareholders. One of the biggest owners of for-profit cemeteries is InvoCare, which owns 16 cemeteries and crematoria around Australia.
- Religious Cemeteries – owned and maintained by a religious organisation specifically for members of a certain faith.
- Natural Burial Ground – specific areas dedicated to green burials – that is, burials in an eco-friendly container, in a shallow, unmarked grave. Green funerals have grown quickly in popularity over the past 5 years.
When you imagine a cemetery, it’s not just rows and rows of gravestones that should come to mind. Many cemeteries these days are fashioned as memorial parks, with beautiful spaces for the public and private reflection.
2. How to Choose a Cemetery
While each of the types of cemeteries listed above are valid options for families to choose from, it’s worth noting that for-profit cemeteries have been criticised by some. The reason stems from the fact that cemeteries have a limited amount of space, and when they are full, the cemetery still needs to continue to be maintained in perpetuity (even though there is no more income from new grave plots being sold).
For-profit cemeteries have been accused of focussing aggressively on new sales (to make quick returns for shareholders) without giving enough thought as to how the grounds will continue to be maintained into the future. They may look beautiful today, but there are question marks over future preservation.
In addition to type of cemetery, other factors that you should consider when choosing a cemetery include:
- Location and proximity to family
- Religious and cultural sections available
- Types of monuments they permit
- Burial plot cost (see our Guide to Burial Plots in Australia)
When choosing a cemetery, it’s important that you take the time to visit the cemetery yourself and the section the burial plot is located in as photos in brochures can look different in person.
3. List of Cemeteries in Australia
There are thousands of cemeteries in Australia, many being small, local and historical cemeteries. To help you start your search, we’ve put together a list of the main cemeteries in Australia that have not yet reached capacity.
Cemeteries in Sydney, NSW
- Rookwood Cemetery
- Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens
- Macquarie Park Cemetery
- Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park
- Castlebrook Memorial Park
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park
- Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetery
- Riverstone Cemetery
- St Bartholomew’s Cemetery (*new burial licences cannot be purchased at present)
Cemeteries in Melbourne, Victoria
- Springvale Botanical Cemetery
- Bunurong Memorial Park
- Templestowe Cemetery
- Altona Memorial Park
- Fawkner Memorial Park
- Lilydale Memorial Park
Cemeteries in Brisbane, Queensland
- Pinnaroo Cemetery
- Allambe Memorial Park
- Mount Gravatt Cemetery
- Great Southern Memorial Park
- Hemmant Cemetery
- Albany Creek Memorial Park
Cemeteries in Adelaide, South Australia
- Centennial Park Cemetery
- Enfield Memorial Park
- Cheltenham Cemetery
- Smithfield Memorial Park
- Dudley Park and Payneham Cemeteries
- West Terrace Cemetery
Cemeteries in Perth, Western Australia
- Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park
- Rockingham Regional Memorial Park
- Midland Cemetery
- Guildford Cemetery
- Fremantle Cemetery
4. Australian Cemeteries Index
Finally, if you need help finding a grave or would like to do a cemetery search for places of historical family significance, you can use the Australian Cemeteries Index.
The Australian Cemeteries Index is a website that contains hundreds of thousands of pictures of headstones that are manually transcribed and searchable online. It’s a free website that is a great resource for history researchers or those that may be searching for a cemetery with a family connection. The database was established in 2004 and has been contributed to by hundreds of volunteers.
Ancestry.com.au is another platform that can be used to find a grave of a family member or to search for a cemetery. However, unlike the Australian Cemeteries Index, the site requires a paid monthly subscription to be accessed.
We hope you have found this guide to choosing and finding a cemetery in Australia helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message in the comments section below.
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