In our article on the average cost of a burial we calculated that the average cost of a burial in Australia was around $19,000 (including the cost for the monument and cemetery fees). Much of the total cost is made up by cemetery fees which are being driven upwards by the fact that land supply is rapidly shrinking. As you might be able to appreciate, cemeteries take up a considerable amount of space, and there are a finite number of plots for purchase. Without available land to develop more cemeteries in populated areas, and the majority of plots being in use or pre-purchased, the price for the remaining plots has been increasing exponentially. To give you an idea, prices have doubled over the past 5 years and can range from anywhere between $4,000 to $52,000 in Sydney.
At that price, burials are a stretch for a number of Australian families and, as a result, the popularity of cremations has steadily been increasing for fair while. In 2015, data from the National Funeral Directors Association showed that for the first time there were more cremations than burials, at 48.5% to 45.6% respectively. In Australian cities, the cremations now account for around 70% of all funerals.
In this article, we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about the full cost of a cremation and itemise the key expenses you should be aware of. (Note: the costs set out in this article have been calculated based on the averages of the 2,000+ prices for funeral services we have listed on our website.)
For more general information on planning a burial, you may find our guide to cremations a useful starting point.
Let’s start with the traditional cremation. A traditional cremation (as opposed to a direct cremation) involves a service, usually at a chapel or church and/or the crematorium chapel, followed by the cremation itself. For a full range of different service types available for cremations, see our guide to planning a funeral service.
According to our database of 2,000+ services, the following are the average cremation costs for a traditional cremation in Australia:
|Professional Service Fee (for a single service)||$3,500|
|Transfer of the deceased||$330|
|Flowers, newspaper notices, service booklets etc||$500|
|Average total cost of a cremation||$7,420|
*Note that in Australia cremation fees typically range from $572 to $1,200.
Astute readers will notice that this total is more expensive than the costs payable to the funeral director for a burial that we calculated in our article on burial costs. However, there is an important caveat: It is not mandatory to bury cremated remains in a cemetery, and in the event that you choose to do so, due to the smaller plot size required, the right of interment is significantly cheaper. Ultimately, this means you either have no additional cemetery fees, which can range between $4,000 – $52,000 for coffins in Sydney, or you will be looking at an average right of interment of $2,500 for cremated remains.
Likewise, interment fees for cremated remains are cheaper at an average of $500 compared to $2,000 for coffins.
So where does that leave us?
Cost for a traditional cremation and cemetery burial
Cost for a traditional cremation without cemetery burial – Total: $7,420
Both of these options are cheaper than the $19,000 average cost for a burial. But can cremations be arranged for cheaper? Absolutely. Searching for cremation prices on Gathered Here will help you find more competitive prices, and then there’s also the option of a direct cremation (otherwise known as a no service, no attendance cremation), outlined below.
A direct cremation is a disposition option in which the body is cremated very soon after the death (usually within a couple of days) and there is no prior funeral service. Direct cremations are the cheapest funeral options, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t respect the memory of the deceased. Families will often arrange a memorial service following the direct cremation to pay tribute to the deceased.
A memorial service can take place anywhere from one week to a year after the burial or cremation. There’s no formal structure and they are normally held in a place of significance, such as the family home, park or an event space in a place of worship.
What impact does this have on the costs of a traditional cremation? Ultimately, as there is no service prior to the cremation, a number of significant costs are avoided:
In addition to the above, families are often able to arrange the cremation directly with the crematorium, including the death certificate and transport costs. While this is the cheapest option, many families still opt to engage a funeral home to help with all of the the organisational and administrative tasks which will still work out much cheaper than the service fee charged for a traditional cremation.
Sampling the funeral home price lists in our database, on average the cost of a direct cremation in Australia is $2,900 all inclusive. However, a search on Gathered Here for budget direct cremation providers will allow you to find options for as low as $1,500.
For more detailed information about direct cremations in your city, including pricing, see our city specific guides:
Deciding on a funeral is an extremely personal question and there are a huge range of options available to families. With the rapidly increasing price of burials, more and more families are opting for more cost-effective cremations as the means to celebrating, remembering and paying respect to the lives of their loved ones.
The easiest way to find the cheapest cremation options is right here on Gathered Here where you can find and compare the prices of hundreds of local funeral homes.
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