Family & Lifestyle

A practical guide to burial and cremation

Thinking about your own funeral can be difficult, but there are some practical arrangements you should consider.

Burial vs cremation

Firstly, would you prefer burial, or cremation? Burial is the traditional option for many people. However, there are a number of disadvantages to burial:

  • burial plots can be more expensive over the long term, than memorials which hold ashes
  • burials generally need to be done more quickly than cremations
  • cemetery restrictions may limit personalisation options for graveside adornments, like monuments or flowers, and
  • laws and logistics make it difficult to move a body after it has been buried.
Cremation offers some advantages:
  • returning remains home, for families who live in different countries, is more straightforward with cremations
  • families who want to move overseas can take the ashes of their loved one with them, and
  • cremation allows more time for family members to travel.

It’s possible to have a permanent memorial set up in a cemetery for both burial and cremation. Creating a dedicated place for future generations to pay their respects and reflect on their heritage is a way to keep family legacies alive.

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Religious exceptions

With the exception of Buddhism and Hinduism, most religions prefer burial over cremation. There are exceptions, but this should be discussed with your family or religious leader.

Religions that support burial

Judaism, Islam and Eastern Orthodox (including Greek Ortrhodox and Russian Orthodox) faiths will only accept burial, not cremation.

Religions that support cremation

Buddhism and Hinduism both have strong associations with cremation. Followers believe that cremation is required so that the soul can be released from the cycle of reincarnation.

Religions that are open to both burial and cremation

Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Baptist faiths now accept cremation, although burial has always been the preferred option. Burial and cremation are both accepted in Aboriginal spirituality practices and by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Cost per state

There are no rules around the cost for funerals, regardless of whether they’re cremations or burials. Like a wedding, more elaborate events will cost more. Adding more expensive coffins, floral arrangements and other features in the service can increase the cost up to more than $15,000.

The average cost for a burial in any Australian State or Territory is just over $7,000 and just under $7,000 for a cremation.

City Average burial cost Average cremation cost
Sydney $8,225 $7,607
Perth $8,082 $7,402
Melbourne $7,961 $7,324
Brisbane $7,611 $7,086
Adelaide $6,992 $6,492
Hobart $6,752 $6,389
Canberra $6,399 $6,000
Total average cost $7,432 $6,900

Source: The Cost of a Funeral in Australia

The costs vary greatly between burial and cremation when it comes to the interment, the term for placing a body in the ground or ashes into a memorial. For example, a traditional allotment burial allotment for 99 years at Sydney’s Waverley Cemetery costs around $61,000, while a plaque in the wall of the memorial garden for the same duration will cost around $10,000. Interment is a lot more affordable in country areas, but may not be as easy for family members to visit.

Talk to your family

It’s important to talk to your family about your wishes, and plan ahead, so they know what you want and are set up to be able to provide it. Funeral insurance is a way to make the process easier for your family at an unsettling time so they can confidently celebrate the life you shared together.

Could your savings cover the cost of all the added expenses that come with a funeral? Visit Insuranceline to find out how Funeral Insurance could help alleviate the cost to your family in case something happened to you.

Funeral Insurance issued by TAL Life Limited ABN 70 050 109 450 AFSL 237848.

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