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Explaining the Cremation Process followed in Australia


After the funeral service, the casket or coffin is transported by the funeral arranger to the crematorium and remains sealed throughout the cremation process.


Verification of deceased

Staff verify the identity of the deceased using the nameplate on the casket, matching it with the 'Application for Cremation' and the Medical Certificate or Coroner's Cremation Permit. The medical certificate also indicates the removal of battery-powered devices, if any.


Flowers

Any flowers remaining with the casket are respectfully disposed of. Families can inquire about retaining flowers with the funeral director during the arrangement process.


Cremation timing

The cremation generally occurs on the same day as the funeral service but can take place within 48 hours as per Department of Health guidelines. If a delay occurs, the casket is kept in a refrigerated holding room.


Preparation for cremation

When it is time for the cremation:

  • The casket is moved to an insertion trolley.

  • Any items hindering the process, such as metal handles, are removed.

  • The nameplate is taken off and placed alongside the cremator for identification throughout the process.

  • The casket is inserted into the cremator.

  • In all cases, the casket and deceased are cremated together, starting immediately upon insertion into the cremator.

The cremation process

Cremators typically consist of a main cremating chamber, a secondary air chamber, and a holding chamber. The main chamber cremates the casket individually according to Health Department Regulations. Only one casket is placed inside at a time, except in special circumstances requiring permission.

After the primary phase of the cremation, the cremated remains are moved to the holding chamber to finalize the process. Once finalized, the remains are placed in a cooling container. Metallic contents, such as prostheses and casket nails, are separated from the cooled remains.


Cremated remains or ashes

Cremated remains are commonly referred to as 'ashes,' but they actually consist of fragile calcified bone fragments. Ashess are purer when the casket contains no formaldehyde resins that can blacken the bone ashes.


Ash container

The cremated remains are processed to a fine granule-type consistency and placed in a sealed container. The container, with an attached nameplate and identifying label, holds all the remains. In exceptional cases where the container is insufficient, an extra one is used. The ash containers are retained until instructions are received from the applicant or their representative, and the ashes are handled according to Health Department Regulations.


Unclaimed ashes

If no instructions are received within a reasonable time (approximately 12 months), unclaimed cremated remains are interred within the crematorium grounds, following Health Department Regulations.

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