Guide to Burial Plots in Australia

Nicola Middlemiss

Nicola Middlemiss

14/06/2022

This simple and straightforward guide can help make a difficult decision much easier.

Not sure where to start when choosing a burial plot? We’ve created a go-to guide that covers everything you need to know when making the big decision.

This guide includes: 

  • Types of burial plot
  • Styles of burial plot
  • Cemetery plot prices 
  • Other costs associated with cemetery plots
  • How long do you own a cemetery plot?
  • How to buy a burial plot 

👋Hi there! Before you buy a burial plot, you need to find a cemetery or memorial park. If you haven’t chosen one yet, read our Guide to Finding a Cemetery in Australia.

Types of burial plot

There are four main types of below ground grave plots. This usually applies to the size of the plot and the number of people who can be buried there. 

Baby and children burial plots. Smaller plots for babies, infants and children. This type of plot is sometimes subsidised and are often much cheaper than adult plots.

Single burial plots. Suitable for one adult-sized person.

Double burial plots. Suitable for two people – either side by side or one on top of the other, known as double-depth. Double-depth plots are usually more affordable as they only take up the space of one grave plot. Both people don’t have to be buried at the same time.

Family burial plots. These can allow enough room for multiple people to be buried across a large plot. 

Styles of burial plot

There’s a large range of styles of burial plots but there are two which are particularly common in Australian cemeteries:

  • Lawn burial plot. A grass-top grave with a headstone or plaque at the top of the grave. The headstone can be raised above the ground or it can lie flush with the grass.
Lawn burial plots at Springvale Botanical Cemetery, Melbourne
  • Monumental burial plot. These include a large monument that covers the entire grave.
Monumental burial plots at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney

Cemetery plot prices

The cost of a burial plot varies dramatically depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Cemetery location 
  • Specific cemetery
  • Plot location within the cemetery
  • Type of burial plot
  • Style of burial plot
  • Term of interment 
  • Extra inclusions

Here are some examples of different prices in cemeteries around Australia. They are for perpetual internment in an adult lawn burial plot, in a standard location within the cemetery.

NSW burial plot cost

Tweed Valley Cemetery, Lawn burial – $6,478.50

Rookwood Cemetery, Monumental Lawn – $8,768

Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, General Lawn – $14,800

For more information see our Complete Guide to Sydney Cemeteries 

VIC burial plot cost 

Lilydale Memorial Park, Lawn Plaque – $5,110

Healesville Cemetery, Lawn Grave – $5,940

Keilor Cemetery, Lawn Headstone – $9,920

For more information see our Complete Guide to Melbourne Cemeteries

QLD burial plot cost 

Mackay Cemetery, Standard Plot – $2,705

Redland Bay Cemetery, Lawn Grave – $2,950

Pinnaroo Cemetery, Lawn Grave – $4,863

For more information see our Complete Guide to Brisbane Cemeteries. 

SA burial plot cost 

Stirling North Garden Cemetery, Lawn Section – $3,640

Scott Creek Cemetery, Lawn Section – $5,990 

Stirling Cemetery, Lawn Section – $7,421

For more information see our Complete Guide to Adelaide Cemeteries.

*Scott Creek and Stirling Cemetery are for a 100-year internment.

Important: Always make sure to compare what’s included in your burial plot cost. For example, some cemeteries will include the cost of a basic marker or plaque, while others won’t. 

Other costs associated with burial plots

Cemetery fees go beyond the burial plot. Typically, there will be a number of other expenses associated with burying your loved one. They include: 

  • Interment fees. Costs for digging the grave, interring the coffin, and filling the grave. 
  • Extra depth digging. If you plan on using the plot for a double-depth burial, an extra fee may be charged for deeper digging.
  • Grave liner or burial vault. Some cemeteries require the use of a grave liner for below-ground burials. This is an outer container that helps prevent the surrounding soil from collapsing inwards over time.
  • Maintenance fee. Some cemeteries include the cost of this in the burial plot but others don’t. 
  • Monumental work fees. Some cemeteries will also charge a fee for the installation of a memorial or headstone.  

Average prices for associated costs

Just like with burial plots, the costs associated with them also vary wildly depending on the location, the cemetery, and other factors.

Depending on the cemetery, the amounts charged for associated costs can vary quite significantly. However, as a rough guide, you can expect the following approximate fees in Australian metropolitan areas.

Interment Fee (or Opening and Closing Fee) $2,300
Extra Depth Digging $590
Grave Liner or Burial Vault $1,000
Monumental Work Fee / Permit $700

For more information on burial costs, see our article on The Average Cost of a Burial in Australia.

How long do you own a cemetery plot for?

When you buy a burial plot, you’re not actually buying the land. Instead, you’re buying the right to be buried there for a certain time. 

Cemeteries may give you the option to buy a cemetery plot for 25, 50 or 99 years. After this time, a family member will be contacted and given the opportunity to renew the term. 

Many cemeteries also offer perpetual internment, which means ongoing. This option guarantees you or your descendants won’t have to pay a large sum of money again. 

Pre-purchasing burial plots

Lots of cemeteries are closed to new burials and many existing ones are nearing capacity. If you feel strongly about being buried in a certain cemetery or location, you may want to pre-purchase a burial plot.

By doing so, you not only guarantee you’ll be buried in your chosen spot, but you’ll also lock in current prices. These are likely to go up in future. 

Most cemeteries allow for purchasing burial plots in advance and many will let you pay the sum in instalments if you prefer.

If you’re considering pre-purchasing a cemetery plot, you might also want to consider planning your funeral service with a prepaid funeral. 

Prepaid funerals help take financial and emotional stress off grieving family members but they also allow people to have a say in what their farewell will look like. 

For more information about burials generally, see our Guide to Burials.

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