Following a cremation, families have many options of what to do with the cremated remains, or ashes, of their loved one. The purpose of this page is to answer some of the questions people may have on cremation and their options for ashes and explore the alternatives available.
In Western Australia, the representative of the deceased that signs the ‘Application for Cremation’ (Form 6) – usually the Administrator or Next of Kin – has the ultimate responsibility of what happens with the ashes. This person is the only person that may collect the ashes or instruct the Cemetery Board unless they give authorisation in writing to another party to act on their behalf.
Many people ask if the casket and other items are cremated with the deceased. In Western Australia, once the casket arrives in Crematorium grounds, the casket may not be opened. The entire casket and the deceased are cremated together.
The only items which are removed from the casket are the nameplate, which is used to identify the person in the casket, and the handles of the casket if they are metal, as metal cannot be cremated. If metal handles are removed they are disposed of by the Crematorium.
Some items which may be on the coffin, such as rose petals, are able to be cremated, but any flowers with a foam oasis may not be, as well as anything which is metal, glass, contains batteries or may present an environmental hazard. Items such as these are unable to be placed inside the casket prior to cremation.
Any battery powered implants, such as pacemakers, will be removed by William Barrett and Sons mortuary staff. Surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements are separated from the ashes following the cremation and sent for recycling by the Crematorium.
What can happen with the ashes?
Following the cremation, there are many options available for the ashes. Some options are very traditional and have been available for many years. Other options are quite contemporary and there are constantly new options becoming available.
Placement in an Urn or Jewellery:
If part or all of the ashes are to be kept at home or you would like to keep some with you at all times, there are many options of Urns, Keepsakes and Jewellery available.
Urns can be very traditional in design, or quite modern such as hand-blown glass urns from Margaret River.
The Bunbury Cemetery Board has a large range of Urns available. Please contact (08) 9721 3191 for more information.
Ashes may be interred in Cemetery, Church or Crematorium Gardens. Some Cemeteries have gardens for ashes interments and it is also possible for ashes to be placed in a grave.
For placement in gardens, the Applicant needs to apply to the Cemetery, Church or Crematorium for the placement and to order a plaque. If the ashes are to be placed with a family member, or in a family plot, the owner of the original placement or plot needs to authorise the placement.
For grave interments, the Grant of Right of Burial must be current, and the holder of the Grant needs to authorise the interment. This can be organised through the Shire or Cemetery Board which operates the Cemetery.
Families have the option to be present or have a ceremony at the time of the ashes placement; or have the ashes interred without any attendance.
Ashes may be placed in a wall or columbarium at a Cemetery, Church or Crematorium. Most Niche Walls accommodate a container which is too small to fit all of the ashes, so if this option is chosen there may be some ashes left over. In these circumstances, families often place the remainder in an urn or scatter in a special place.
The placement of the ashes and plaque in the Niche Wall or Columbarium is organised through the Shire, Cemetery Board or Church which operates it. The Applicant would organise this directly and families have an option to be present or have a ceremony at the time of the ashes placement; or have the ashes interred without any attendance.
Ashes can be scattered in a meaningful place such as the beach, a forest or a sporting ground. If the place is owned by an organisation, such as the council or sporting club you will need to request permission and let the organisation know as there may be a place which they would prefer this to be done.
If the area is used by the public often it may be best to do this when the area is fairly quiet and there are not many people around. There is no legislation which governs where ashes may be spread and as long as the scattering doesn’t impact other people there would not be any issue.
The ashes may be scattered directly from the receptacle provided by the crematorium, or by using a scattering tube or other urn.
Forest or Tree Planting
There are options available for burial of ashes in native forests near Wellington Dam through a company called Living Legacy. A plot may be purchased for a single interment or a family plot. The ashes are treated to become nourishment for the native forest.
Planting takes place once a year in May at the Living Legacy Forest. William Barrett and Sons can provide more information on request, or information may be found via the Living Legacy website.
Alternatively, a single tree can be grown from placing the ashes in a Bios Urn, which may be planted in a pot or garden, turning the ashes into a living memorial. William Barrett and Sons can provide more information on request.
Ash Glazed Urns
Conscious Clay, a local Busselton pottery company, are able to make a glaze from cremated remains to produce beautiful pieces, such as candle holders, flower pots and other items.
Conscious Clay have developed the method independently and are one of only two providers in the world.
More information can be found here.
Orders may be placed with William Barrett and Sons directly.
Some more extreme alternatives are now available for people looking for very modern options. A Geraldton company is now turning ashes into fireworks, ashes can be turned into diamonds for jewellery and even sent to space.
With so many alternatives available it is best to have a discussion to explore what is available and make a choice that suits the individual that has died, as well as family members left behind.
There is no rush to make a decision. William Barrett and Sons, or the Bunbury Crematorium can safely store your loved ones’ ashes for as long as you require.