A Guide to Burial Costs & Arrangements

Information on arranging a burial for your loved one and the costs involved

Last updated: 29 November 2016

Burial is an ancient process, dating back as far as 130,000 years ago, and it still remains a popular funeral planning choice in Australia today.

Burial costs

In terms of the funeral director’s fee, burial and cremation usually cost roughly the same. However, it is the cost of buying a burial plot that often makes burial a more expensive choice overall.

For a standard burial, the cost can vary from around $1,000 to upwards of $10,000 for the best plots in the most exclusive cemeteries. Interment and monumental masonry may then cost extra on top of that. Bear this in mind when choosing a cemetery and burial plot.

Your loved one’s wishes

When deciding how to plan a funeral and burial, many people will take their loved one’s wishes into account. However, you may feel that you are unable to afford aspects of those wishes, so it is important to know that you are not required to do so.

If you are concerned about the cost of a burial, find out if you may be entitled to financial support.

Arranging a burial

If you have appointed the services of a funeral director, they will take care of most of the burial arrangements. You will be able to discuss your requirements with them and benefit from their experience dealing with local cemeteries.

If you wish to organise it yourself, you will need to contact the cemetery directly and liaise with them to arrange the burial.

Burial service

If you decide on a burial for your loved one, you may wish to hold a burial or graveside service. This is usually a short service held after the main funeral service as the coffin is lowered into the ground. Often the person leading the service will invite mourners to attend the burial at the end of the funeral.

The burial service may include a short prayer or reading, depending on preference and religious beliefs. Another common tradition is for the bereaved to scatter soil onto the coffin once it has been lowered. Some people also choose to throw flowers.

Occasionally, people may choose to hold a graveside service as the main funeral ceremony. In this case, chairs can be set up beside the grave for the closest friends and family members. However, bear in mind that graveside services are outdoors and will be subject to weather conditions.

Headstones and memorials

Many people choose to mark their loved one’s grave with a headstone, also known as memorial masonry. Most commonly, the headstone will show the name of the person buried there, the date of birth and date of death.

Once a headstone or a memorial has been ordered, it may take several weeks to be made and engraved with your loved one’s details. The headstone cannot be placed until the ground settles; this can take several months, depending on the burial site.

The cost of erecting a gravestone or memorial is usually included in the price, but be sure to ask beforehand if this is the case.

Green burials

Green burials are a fairly new concept, but are rapidly gaining popularity. They are more environmentally friendly than traditional burials and usually take place in woodland or meadows.

There is no gravestone or memorial for a green burial, however. The bereaved sometimes choose to mark the site of the grave with a tree, or may choose to let it become part of the surrounding natural landscape.