The Cremation Process in Australia – A Step by Step Guide
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be emotional. It’s hard to clear your mind long enough to think through the options and decide what you want for them. If they haven’t left instructions, it’s up to you to decide what to do. Whether you are deciding between final disposition methods on a loved one’s behalf or you want to look into planning your own final services, it never hurts to know more about cremation and how it works in Australia. Most haven’t looked into the process before so when they do, there are a lot of questions to answer. This step by step guide will give you the information you need about the cremation process.
What is Cremation?
First, it is important to understand what cremation is before you move forward. Cremation is heating the deceased’s body to reduce it into an ash-like form. In a traditional burial, the body is kept intact and buried underground in a casket. It then slowly decays over time. Cremation changes the body’s form right away and allows families to do different things with the remains outside of burial.
Crematoriums generally are the top choice for completing the cremation process. While there are services that can be arranged before or after the cremation itself, direct cremation is the simplest and least expensive form.
Step 1: Transporting the Body to the Crematorium
After someone passes away, the first thing you have to do before cremation can take place is get their body to the cremation provider. This step is very simple because all it takes is a phone call. Once you choose the cremation provider, or call the one your loved one has chosen, they will take care of transporting your loved one from their place of death to their facility. They have the staff in place for these procedures and they have the vehicles and capabilities as well. You can rest assured that your loved one is in good hands with these professionals.
Step 2: Caring for and Preparing the Body
Once the deceased is at the crematorium, the staff will care for and prepare the body for the cremation. They will remove items that could affect the cremation process like rings, watches, pacemakers, and other objects that could cause the process to be a danger. Those items will be returned to you. The person is then placed in a cremation coffin, which can be heated along with them or can just be used to keep them safe until the time comes for their cremation to take place. Their body is then stored in a dignified manner until cremation.
Step 3: Verification and Paperwork
Cremation providers take no chance that they are cremating the wrong person and they never cremate two people at the same time and mix their ashes. If you wish to mix someone’s ashes with another loved one, you can do so yourself after the fact.
Before cremation will take place, the crematorium must positively identify your loved one. They will have to have medical certificates, death certificates, the application for cremation, and the coroner’s cremation permit. All of those documents have to match in name and that name has to match the name placed on the cremation coffin as well. Cremation is an irreversible process and can only be done once.
Step 4: The Cremation Process
Those who go with direct cremation have fewer events before the cremation. There are no services before the cremation takes place so it can happen soon after the person passes on. The cremation provider will let your family know when the process is going to take place and when you can expect to have the ashes returned to you. That gives you time to process the information and purchase an urn or scattering tube, if you so choose. The provider will have a simple container for your loved one’s ashes, but you are able to get something unique or personalized if you wish. Many providers offer options, but you can also purchase something if you find an urn you like elsewhere.
Once the paperwork is in order and the body is prepared, the cremation coffin is placed on a conveyer belt and any metal parts that are on the coffin, like the metal name plate identifying your loved one, are taken off. The body is then inserted into the cremation chamber feet first. Only one body is placed into the chamber at a time. There is no risk of ashes getting mixed up.
Not every cremation chamber is the same, but many are made up of two chambers and then a cooling space. The first chamber is powered by gas and surrounded by heat-resistant bricks. The bricks bounce heat around, which causes cremation to occur. Once the remains are cremated, they move onto another chamber where they are removed from the coffin, if there is a coffin to begin with. Then, they are placed in a cremulator, which grinds them down into a sand-like ash form. The ashes are allowed to cool in the cooling space and then they are placed into a simple, sealed container or an urn that you have purchased.
The Cremation Process: Length
The average sized person will go through cremation and come out the other side in two hours or less. The entire procedure from start to finish takes about 4 hours including procedures and cooling. Larger bodies can take longer and have to be carefully managed so the chamber does not get too hot while smaller bodies take less time.
There are some cremation providers that allow families to see the cremation coffin go into the cremation chamber. Ask the crematory about this option when you contact them to see if your family can see the process begin. Some families get closure from seeing the event take place and it can be a way to say a final goodbye.
Step 5: The Returning of the Ashes
Once the cremation takes place, the cremation provider will place the ashes in a basic container, or the container that you have provided, like an urn or scattering tube. They will return the ashes to you anywhere in Australia. The return of the remains occurs soon after the cremation process is complete as they want you to have your loved one for whatever services you choose as soon as possible.
Planning A Cremation
There are two main ways to plan a cremation: after someone passes on or through pre-planning. If you would like to ensure that your wishes are met and that everything is set before you pass on, pre-planning is a good idea. You can ensure that things are set up just as you want and you can even pay for the services in advance, if you choose. When you are met with a loved one’s death and you have to plan their final services, the best first step is to call a cremation provider for information and to get the transportation process started.
Pre-planning your cremation has become more popular in recent years as cremation itself has grown in popularity across Australia. Cremation is more well-utilised today because it costs less and allows families a number of options that traditional burial can’t carry. Cremation costs less because it includes less products and services. For example, you don’t have to purchase a burial plot, a headstone, or embalming services. You don’t have to have a funeral or even a memorial service, either. All of those things cost money and it can be better to go without them from a financial perspective.
Cremation cuts most of the extras out and allows families to do unique things to remember a loved one. Instead of a funeral that has to be rushed in a small timeframe, families can have a memorial service at any time and in any location. That service can feel much like a funeral or it can be more of a celebration of life or even something small and simple like an ash scattering.
The final resting place is also something families can vary. The versatile options are enticing to allow people to have the final resting place they really want. Not everyone wishes to be buried in a cemetery, after all. With cremation, you could be scattered into the ocean, planted within a garden, placed in an urn to be kept on a mantel, or any number of other things. The options are nearly endless and families can get creative about the way they remember the deceased.
Pre-planning your cremation can help your family in a number of ways. First, whenever you pass on, they know just what you want and they don’t have to wonder about what they should do. Second, they don’t have to go through the emotional trauma of planning your services. The cremation service is already set up and ready to go whenever you pass on. All your family has to do is call the cremation provider you have chosen and that provider will walk them through anything else they need to do. Third, if you are able to pay for the services upfront, your family will not have to worry about those fees.
Cremation, like any other service, is likely to increase in cost as the years go by. When you pay for your services now, even if you don’t use it for decades, you still lock in today’s price. That can save you and your family quite a bit of money in the future and cost is one less thing your family has to worry about when the time comes.
Preparing For Cremation
There’s no way to completely prepare your family for your eventual cremation, but discussing what you want is a good start. If your family has always had traditional burials for other members in the past, it’s a good idea for them to know what you want so they can prepare themselves for it. You don’t want your wishes to come as a shock. Your close family members should know what you are planning, what crematory holds those plans, and why it is that you want to be cremated. When they understand your reasoning, they are likely to accept your personal reasons.
While it’s not pleasant to talk about your own death, you will want to gather your closest family members for a discussion at some point. You can do this before you have the final plans in place if you would like their input on certain decisions. Or, you can put everything into place with the cremation provider of your choice and you can inform your family of the plans after the fact. Give copies of the plan to important family members so they know who to contact when the time comes. There are some things that you might leave up to them.
For example, perhaps you want your family to choose an urn, or plan a memorial service. It is nice for them to know those details upfront so they can think about it in advance over the years. Then, when the time comes, the decisions they have to make won’t be as hard since they will have had time to think things through.
Choosing the Cremation Process for a Loved One
When you are left to make a difficult decision for a loved one who hasn’t pre-planned their services, understand that there are no wrong options. Both a cremation and a traditional burial are completely respectful and dignified. If you choose a cremation, you are honouring your loved one in a unique way that allows your family to save money and have more options.
Cremation is so widely accepted today that most family members are not going to have a problem with that choice. If you run across someone who does, explain your reasoning to them in person and they will likely get on board with the idea as well.
Understanding the Step by Step Process
Now that you understand what happens with the cremation process from start to finish, you recognize that it is a simple and dignified process. It takes the body from its current form into an ash-like state so it can be placed in a final resting spot with ease. Whether your family has had members who chose a cremation before or not, it’s easy to find ways to honour a loved one who is cremated.
If you wish to be cremated, make sure your family members know or put plans into place for them with a cremation provider. If you don’t know where your loved ones stand on the issue, ask them what they want when they pass on so you understand their wishes. No matter how young and healthy you are, you never know what’s going to happen or when, so it’s better to have those discussions early on. Get them over with and then move on with peace of mind that everyone in your life knows what you want to happen when you pass on and vice versa.
Grief can make decision making very difficult, but the professionals at Fixed Price Cremations are here to help you with anything, in any way they can. For the fixed price of $1,695, you or your loved one can set up the cremation services you want. That price is all-inclusive and allows your loved one to be transported to the cremation facility, have the care they need beforehand, receive cremation, and then be returned to you in a simple container or an urn of your choice, anywhere in Australia.
You can then say a meaningful farewell in any way you see fit. You don’t have to worry about large costs, or fees adding up because the $1,695 price tag is really and truly all that is necessary for absolutely everything you need.
Have you ever watched a cremation take place before? What was it like? Do you have other questions about the cremation process? Post them below and discuss the options with others who have been through the process with their family members in the past.
Pre-planning is also something many people want advice on. Do you have pre-plans for your services already? Were they hard to set up? Did you speak with your family before or after the process? Don’t be shy about talking with others when it comes to your final plans.
Those who are considering creating their own final plans take comfort knowing there are people who have been through the process before them and appreciate the peace of mind that comes with having something in place. While cremation isn’t a difficult process to understand, there are plenty who haven’t taken the time to learn more about it. Now that you know the step by step process, do you think cremation would be right for you?
Cremation Pre-Planning – A Start to Finish Guide
Coping With Grief And Loss – Dos And Don’ts
Cremation Only No Service – Everything You Need To Know
Funeral vs Cremation – Pros & Cons You Should Consider
What To Do When Death Occurs At Home