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Types of Funerals

Choosing the Right Resting Place

Deciding what type of funeral to have is a matter of personal choice and can be influenced by a number of factors such as religious beliefs or family tradition. Some people will want a simple funeral service while others will want something more elaborate. The most important things to consider when deciding on a funeral service and what to do with the remains is the wishes of the person who has died, and keeping within a price-range that you or the estate can realistically afford.

There are a range of funeral options to choose from. These include:

Traditional Full-Service Funeral

The full service funeral usually includes a viewing and a formal funeral service, use of a hearse to transport the body to the funeral site, cemetery and burial, entombment or cremation of the remains. It is generally the most expensive type of funeral service, as well as the most common, as it involves the most amount of services and product fees including: casket, cemetery plot, hearse, embalming, etc.


The most common type of burial is in a cemetery or church yard. In Australia you generally purchase a 'right to burial' which can have time limitations placed on the plot. Some burial plots allow for multiple internments which can save on the cost.  Burials can be done directly or after a graveside service. Unless there is a viewing beforehand embalming is generally not needed. There may be certain restrictions on headstone styles or for items that are placed on top of the gravesite itself. Seek advice from the funeral director or cemetery beforehand.


Cremation of remains can be done either directly or after a funeral service. The cremated remains are placed in an urn or other commemorative container. Arrangements can be made for the ashes to be buried or scattered or placed in a niche or memorial wall in a cemetery or crematorium. Often memorial services are held with or without the remains present.

Burial at sea

Burials at sea require a permit from the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage. If a permit is granted a number of restrictions apply such as no embalment, water depth and shrouding of the body. Scattering cremated ashes at sea does not require a permit.

Body and organ donation

While this might not be the number one choice for most people, body and organ donation is a valuable gift to humanity. Medical schools have an ongoing need of bodies for teaching and research and organ donation is increasingly in demand. Organ donation at a time of death is a gift of life or sight to the recipient. All major religions approve of body and organ donation for medical and dental teaching, research and transplants. Usually costs for embalment and final disposition are covered by the bequeathed medical institution.


If your loved one dies overseas you may wish to bring the body back to Australia for burial or cremation. Transport and health restriction apply. Overseas death certificated must be obtained and importation papers complete. In most circumstances the body will need to be embalmed and returned to Australia in an outer coffin or crate suitably prepared for transportation.

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