Q: Can I bury someone (non-cremated) on private property?

Section 8(2) of the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 permits burial outside of a recognised cemetery under certain conditions. CCASA recommends that you also check with your Local Council to confirm if they will approve burial outside a cemetery.

8—Offence to dispose of bodily remains except in cemetery or natural burial ground

  1. Subject to subsection (2), a person must not, without the approval of the Attorney General, inter bodily remains, or cause, suffer or permit bodily remains to be interred, except in a lawfully established cemetery or natural burial ground.Maximum penalty: $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years.
  2. A person may inter bodily remains in a prescribed area on land outside a cemetery or natural burial ground with the permission of the owner of the land and—(a)  in the case of land within a council area—
           (i) with the approval of the council for the area in which the land is situated; and
           (ii)in accordance with the regulations; or
     (b) in any other case—in accordance with the regulations.
  3. A person must not, without the approval of the Attorney General, dispose of bodily remains by burial at sea, or cause, suffer or permit bodily remains to be disposed of by burial at sea.Maximum penalty: $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years.
  4. In this section—        

          prescribed area means—

        (a) an area outside a township or Metropolitan Adelaide; or

        (b) an area defined by the regulations.

If interring bodily remains outside of a cemetery, please also refer to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Regulations 2011.

Regulation 9MA states:

If the deceased’s remains were interred in a prescribed area outside a cemetery or natural burial ground—

                i. the address of the property where the deceased’s remains were interred; and

                ii. the certificate of title reference for the property; and

               iii. the GPS coordinates of the interment site;

Q: Do I need to use a Funeral Director when arranging a funeral?

A: Legally – No. However, there are a number of administrative processes plus the important tasks of preparing and transferring the body of the deceased which families should consider when deciding whether or not to engage with a Funeral Director.
Q: Surrender of Interment Right

The Burial and Cremation Regulations prescribe the minimum refund to be paid to an interment right holder who surrenders their interment right.


Regulation 31—Surrender of interment rights (section 34 of Act)

The fee that may be deducted by a relevant authority from a refund under section 34(2) of the Act on the surrender of an interment right is an amount to be determined in accordance with Schedule 1.

Schedule 1 of the Regulations provides a table of the scale of refunds depending on how many years have lapsed on an interment right.

At a minimum, the Schedule allows the cemetery authority to retain 25% of the fee.

Link to Regulations is:



Q: Can I keep cremated remains at home?

Yes.  Cremated remains, commonly referred to “ashes” have no legal status as such and can be stored or transported in any manner that families think fit. If transporting ashes interstate or overseas, it is recommended that the person carrying the ashes has a letter of authentication from the relevant crematorium confirming the ashes are those of the deceased.


Q: Are the handles on the coffin cremated?

Many coffins have handles constructed of plastic or wood. These remain attached to the coffin and are destroyed when the cremation takes place. Metal handles however are removed and sent for recycling via an authorised waste recycling company. The proceeds, if any, from metal coffin handles diverted to recycling are donated to charity by major the crematoriums.


Q: Is more than one coffin cremated at the same time?

No. Cremators are constructed to only hold one coffin at any one time. It is also a legal requirement that throughout the cremation process the identity of the deceased and their ashes can be verified. In cases where families ask for two people to be cremated together, this request is unable to be met in the same cremator but can be undertaken in the same crematorium by cremating the people at the same time in adjacent cremators. This also will depend on the cremator provider as some crematoriums only have one cremator. It is possible for crematoriums, following the cremation, to blend sets of ashes into a single urn or container upon request.


Q: What is the length of tenure?

The tenure of an Interment Right, formally known as a Lease, Grant or Licence varies from cemetery to cemetery. Memorial ashes Interment Rights generally range from 25 to 99 years with initial terms of 25, 30, 50, 75 and 99 years known to be offered in SA. Interment Rights for burials, vaults and mausolea also range from 25 to 99 years with the common option being 50 or 99 years. Some cemeteries offer a grace period for prepaid burial Interment Right that is the purchase of a grave, vault or crypt prior to death – not at the time of death. For these Interment Rights, the period of tenure commences from either the date of the first interment or 25 years from the date of purchase, depending on which occurs first. This practice seeks to encourage people to consider their funeral and cemetery arrangements well in advance and in doing so, it is hoped that people will make measured and better informed decisions about their long term wishes.

Note that since 1 February 2014, cemeteries in SA can offer Interment Rights in perpetuity, effectively forever.  Individual cemeteries may or may not elect to offer Interment Rights in perpetuity.


Q: What’s involved in a “Lift and Deepen?” 

The Burial and Cremation Act 2013 stats that a lift and deepen means:

a procedure that consists of—

     (a)      opening an interment site; and

      (b)      recovering any human remains interred in the site; and

      (c)      deepening or otherwise enlarging the interment site; and

      (d)      re‑interring the existing human remains in the place of interment, whether contained in a receptacle or not, so as to provide space for additional interments in the site;

While recovered in the “lift & deepen” process, individual sets of skeletal remains are not removed from the grave location but are reinterred at a lower depth (level 4, approximately 3 meters) where they then remain in perpetuity.

A relevant authority may, at the request of the holder of an interment right, carry out a lift and deepen procedure at the site to which the interment right relates for the purpose of interring additional human remains there.

A lift and deepen may also be carried out to facilitate the reuse of a grave if the Interment Right expires.
Q: How do I ensure that the memorial contains all of my loved one?

Modern crematoriums generally provide all of the cremated remains (ashes) of each person they cremate. There is generally about 2.8 to 3.2 kilograms of ashes per person which is presented to families in a 25cm oblong or cylindrical container. If you have any doubts about the quantity of ashes you are presented with, feel free to query this with the crematorium.


Q: What do you do with the cremated remains that do not fit in the memorial wall?

Prior to 1985, two thirds of ashes were provided to families and the practice was that any residual ashes were scattered or interred in a garden within the cemetery.

This process has now changed and if an ashes memorial site does not allow for all of the ashes to be interred then the cemetery will seek advice from the family as to what to do with the remaining cremated remains.

Pre 1990, most memorial walls were constructed to a modular brick size that weren’t large enough to hold the entire set of ashes. In this instance, cemetery staff are obliged to inform families of this to ensure that clear instructions are given as to what to do with the residual cremated remains.