Frequently Asked Questions

At Adelaide Cemeteries, we’re here to help you navigate one of life’s most significant events. We understand how hard this process is and we hope to reduce some of the burden on your family. Below you’ll find a number of frequently asked questions which will hopefully clear up any questions you have regarding the process and the options that are available to you.

However should you need any clarification or have any other questions, please feel free to contact us and our team will be more than happy to assist you.

What are my options?

Burial, cremation or entombment.

Why have a funeral?

The purpose of a funeral or memorial service is to give meaning to a person’s life and to provide comfort to the living. It’s an opportunity for family and friends to gather and remember the uniqueness of the individual and to celebrate the life that was lived while offering support to one another.

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

Legally, no. However, there are a number of administrative processes plus the important task of preparing and transferring the body of the deceased, which families should consider when deciding whether or not to engage with a Funeral Director.

Can I arrange a funeral directly through the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority?

You can arrange a cremation, burial or crypt location and a memorial directly with the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority. Services and after-service functions can be held at Enfield Memorial Park. Your funeral director can arrange the service itself.

What is the difference between a memorial service and a funeral service?

The difference between a memorial service and a more traditional funeral service is that the coffin or casket is not present at a memorial service. However, if a memorial service is held after a cremation, the family may choose to have the ashes present. A memorial service is often held if someone has died overseas or interstate, allowing friends and family to celebrate the life of their loved one. For more information please contact us.

Can I have a funeral service on a Saturday or Sunday?

Yes, funerals can be arranged on Saturdays and Sundays by prior arrangement; however additional fees apply. For more information please contact us.

How do I find out where a service is being held?

See Today’s Services or contact us on (08) 8139 7400.

Does Adelaide Cemeteries Authority cater for different religious and cultural groups?

We are a community-focused organisation with a great deal of experience in meeting the needs of South Australia’s diverse population. Many of our cemeteries have dedicated areas for specific faiths, denominations and cultural groups. We continually engage with religious and cultural leaders to gain a thorough understanding of their specific end of life needs and requirements. For more information please contact us.

What happens if a medical episode occurs while we are at a funeral service?

Each cemetery is equipped with first aid equipment, including a defibrillator. Many of our team members hold a Senior First Aid Certificate, and qualified first aid officers are on site during business hours.

Why are some burial and cremation memorial sites more expensive than others?

We offer a variety of burial and cremation memorial options to suit a variety of needs and requirements. Prices vary according to the level of maintenance required, site capacity, location, and the type of materials used. Pre-purchasing your final resting place is one way to save money as it will safeguard you from any future price increases. For more information please contact us.

Who maintains the cemetery grounds and memorials?

The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority is responsible for maintaining the overall cemetery grounds, whereas the Interment Right holder of a burial or cremation site is responsible for maintaining the memorial. This means that maintaining a well-presented cemetery is a partnership between the Authority and the community.

What is the length of tenure of an Interment Right?

The tenure of an Interment Right, formally known as a Lease, Grant or Licence varies from cemetery to cemetery. The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority offers an initial tenure period of 50 or 99 years. Interment Rights can be renewed at any time during the tenure period. The minimum renewal period is 5 years. For more information please contact us.

Can I renew an Interment Right at any time?

Yes. Interment Rights can be renewed at any time during the tenure period. The minimum renewal period is 5 years.

What happens when the Interment Right over a site expires?

Prior to expiry of an Interment Right, we send a letter to the Interment Right Holder. This becomes complicated if the Interment Right Holder changes their contact details without notifying the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority. We also place notification on the grave or memorial site when it has expired asking the Interment Right Holder or any other interested party to contact us. Advice is also published in the Public Notices section of The Advertiser and on our website. If after these actions and a minimum period of 2 years has elapsed, and the Interment Right Holder for an expired sites can not be contacted, ownership of the sites reverts to the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority. At this time, the site may be re-used in accordance with the Burial and Cremation Act 2013.

What happens to the skeletal remains when a site is reused?

The process of re-using a gravesite is treated with dignity, care and respect. All skeletal remains are carefully recovered from the site and are individually placed into ossuary boxes and reinterred at a lower depth in the same grave. In the case of cremated remains that have not been reclaimed, they will be scattered within the cemetery grounds. Interment Right Holders who do not want a site to be re-used can renew or extend the Interment Right at any time. The minimum tenure extension is 5 years.

Can I reclaim the monument?

There are a number of factors to consider. For more information please contact us.

Can I bury someone on private property?

Section 8(2) of the Burial and Cremation Act 2013 permits burial outside a recognised cemetery under certain conditions. If you intend to do so we recommended that you also check with your local Council to confirm if they will approve burial outside of a cemetery.

How many interments can take place in a standard burial site?

A standard burial site can generally accommodate up to three adult burials, one above the other. Up to 10 sets of cremated remains may also be interred into burial sites. Families wishing to have the option of burying up to three people within one site should advise their funeral director and cemetery provider at the time of the first burial taking place so that the grave can be dug to a greater depth.

What is natural burial?

Natural burial provides a unique and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional earth burial. It involves preparation of the bodily remains without the use of chemical preservatives and interment in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket. In doing so, the body is allowed to return to the earth naturally. We offer two distinctive natural burial areas, Wirra Wonga at Enfield Memorial Park and Pilyu Yarta at Smithfield Memorial Park. For more information on Natural Burials please click here. 

When I purchase a burial site, is it mine forever?

In accordance with South Australian legislation the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority offers Interment Rights for a period of 50 or 99 years for burial and memorial sites. Interment Rights can be renewed at any time during the tenure period. The minimum renewal period is 5 years. For more information please contact us.

Can I be buried with my parents?

Yes, as long as the Interment Right Holder has given their permission to the cemetery and there is room in the site. At the time of purchase, the cemetery needs to be made aware of how many interments there will be.

Can I inter cremated remains in a burial site?

Yes, as long the Interment Right is still in tenure, there is available space and you have the correct authority over the burial site (you are the Interment Right Holder or have their permission). If the Interment Right Holder has passed away, please contact us.

Who is responsible for erecting the monumentation?

In most cases the Interment Right Holder is responsible for organising the monumentation. It is also the responsibility of the Interment Right Holder to maintain the headstone or memorial. A registered monumental mason must perform all monumental works undertaken within our cemeteries. For a list of registered monumental masons, please contact us.

Is there still space available at your cemetery for burial?

Yes, we offer a range of beautiful burial and memorial options within our distinctive cemeteries – Enfield Memorial Park, Cheltenham Cemetery, Smithfield Memorial Park and historic West Terrace Cemetery. Please note, however that there are limited opportunities at West Terrace Cemetery.

Do burials go ahead in bad weather?

Yes, burials go ahead in all weather conditions.

How is cremation arranged?

The best approach is to contact your local funeral director to discuss when and where you wish the cremation to take place, whom you wish to officiate the service, and the type of service. The funeral director will do all that is needed to procure the necessary documentation to be completed for the cremation. It is suggested the service be arranged a few days ahead to allow relatives and friends time to make arrangements to attend.

Are there any documents to sign?

Yes. If you are the spouse, next of kin or executor, or a person authorised by the family, you will be asked to complete an application for cremation and the relevant authority forms. You will be asked to indicate your intention regarding disposal of the cremated remains. If you are undecided, say so, and the remains will be retained until you finalise your wishes.

Can I choose where the cremation will take place?

Yes, you may select whichever provider bests suits your needs. It is important to note that not all cremation operations in South Australia are located within a cemetery – there are several located with industrial estates. To ensure your loved one is treated with dignity and respect, we recommend that you specifically request Enfield Memorial Park as the preferred place for the cremation of your loved one.

What happens at the crematorium on the day of the funeral?

The coffin is usually brought into the chapel and placed on to the catafalque before the mourners enter for the service. At the appropriate time during the service, floral tributes can be placed on to the coffin. The coffin is then removed from view by lowering the catafalque or closing the curtains. At the conclusion of the service, mourners are invited through to the lounge for refreshments.

What happens to the coffin after the service, and how is the identity of the cremated remains maintained?

The coffin is withdrawn to the committal room where the nameplate is checked with the cremation permit to ensure correct identity. The nameplate or identity tag stays with the coffin throughout the cremation process, until the cremated remains are safely stored in a properly labelled urn.

Does the cremation take place immediately after the service?

The cremation will follow as soon practicable, almost always within 24 hours.

How long does a cremation take?

The time taken depends on many factors, including body mass, bone density and the material the casket is made from. The average time for an adult is around 90 minutes and the full cremation process takes approximately 4 hours from start to finish.

Can more than one coffin be cremated at the same time?

No. Cremators are only constructed to hold a single coffin. It is also a legal requirement that throughout the cremation process the identity of the deceased and their cremated remains can be verified. While two people cannot be cremated together in the same cremator, the cremation can be undertaken in the same crematorium by cremating the people at the same time in adjacent cremators.

Is the coffin cremated with the body?


Can the committal of the coffin to the cremator be witnessed?

Yes. People are permitted to attend if they prefer, however, advanced notice is required as special arrangements for timing may need to be made.

What happens to the handles and other fitting?

Most fittings are made of plastic or wood and are cremated with the coffin. Some crematoria remove the fittings because of the effect their chemical composition can have on the control of the cremation process. Any fittings removed are destroyed or diverted to recycling.

What happens to gold and other precious metals?

The operating temperatures of cremators are such that metals are not recognisable, and merge with the cremated remains.

What happens at the end of the cremation?

The remains are removed from the furnace and placed in a cooling container. When cool, any metal objects, such as nails, screws, or artificial joints are removed. The remains are then placed in a processing machine that reduces the remains to the traditional “ashes”.

What can you do with cremated remains?

From fragrant rose gardens and native bush land settings through to niche walls and quaint little alcoves, we offer an extensive range of distinctive environments to create a place to remember. Alternatively, the cremated remains can be placed into a family grave or collected for personal disposal or storage. For more details of our cremation memorial options please click on the cemetery of your choice: Enfield Memorial Park, Cheltenham Cemetery, Smithfield Memorial Park or West Terrace Cemetery.

Is it important to have a memorial?

Many people find comfort in having a special place to visit after the passing of a family member or loved one, even if the cremated remains have been scattered elsewhere. Having a place to remember is extremely important, as the emotional legacy that you leave behind, is the legacy that loved ones will continue to interact with and reflect upon for generations to come.

Can I arrange a memorial for someone whose cremated remains have been scattered elsewhere?

Yes, it is not necessary for the cremated remains to be placed within a memorial to create a place of remembrance within one of our cemeteries. As well as garden memorials, it is possible for a written memorial to be included in the Book of Remembrance.

Can I arrange a memorial for someone who passed away many years ago?

Yes, irrespective of how much time has passed you can still create a memorial for your loved one. Our cemeteries offer many alternatives perfect for remembering a life, regardless of the date of death.

What happens to the cremated remains that do not fit within the memorial?

If a memorial site does not allow for all of the cremated remains to be interred then we will seek advice from the family as to what to do with the remaining ashes.

Can I keep cremated remains at home?

Yes. Cremated remains have no legal status and can be stored or transported in any manner that families wish. If transporting cremated remains interstate or overseas, it is recommended that the person carrying the remains has a letter of authentication from the relevant crematorium confirming the remains are those of the deceased.

What does entombment mean?

Entombment means burial within a cement-lined structure, either above or below ground level.

What are my options?

The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority provides a variety of entombment option for single and double interment, including the prestigious Enfield Mausoleum and in-ground cement lined vaults.

Does the body have to be embalmed?

There are areas of the mausoleum that require embalming of the deceased.

Can I place cremated remains into a vault or mausoleum crypt?

Yes, cremated remains can be placed into a vault or mausoleum crypt. For more information please contact us.

What can I pre-purchase?

In addition to pre-purchasing your final resting place, you may choose to pre-pay for the cremation or digging fees as well as the use of our chapel and lounge facilities for your service. At the time of procurement you will be presented with a certificate of purchase. It is important that this is kept in a safe place as it will need to be provided at the time of redemption.

What are the advantages of planning ahead?

There are many advantages to planning and purchasing your burial or cremation ahead of time, including purchasing at today’s prices and having peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be honoured. Pre-paying also eases the burden on your family during such an emotional time. All pre-paid Interment Rights are sold with a tenure period of 75 years. This reverts to a 50 year tenure from the date of the first interment. However, if no interment takes place within the first 25 years, the 50 year tenure will reduce thereafter. See Why should I pre-purchase? for more information.

How much money will I save by buying today?

When you pre-pay for a burial or cremation in full, you pay today’s prices and there are no additional fees or charges.

How will my family know I have pre-paid my grave, crypt, service or cremation?

It is best to keep your certificate of purchase with your other important documents and make family and/or the executors of your estate aware of where they are. Your family can also contact us at the time of need so that we can check our records.

Do you have payment terms?

Yes, we offer extended interest free payment terms. A 20% deposit is required upfront. You then have three years to pay-off the total purchase amount in equal quarterly instalments. For more information please contact us.

Does it cost more to pay in instalments?


Who will make sure I’m buried where I choose?

When you purchase a location, it is assigned to you and recorded. At the time of use, numerous checks are undertaken before a person is interred.

What if my situation changes? I’m single now but if I get married, can I purchase the position next to me at a later stage?

Yes, if the position is available. If not, you can cancel your original purchase and purchase a burial or memorial site that is suitable for two or more people. For more information please contact us.

What happens if I change my mind?

If you change you mind you can sell the burial or memorial site back to the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority. The Burial and Cremation Regulations prescribe the minimum refund to be paid to an Interment Right Holder who surrenders their Interment Right. For more information please contact us.

Why wouldn’t I go to the funeral director first?

Your funeral director will assist in the short term, to arrange the funeral service itself. However, as a community based organisation, we can assist you with making key long term decisions regarding the location and type of memorial. For more information please contact us.

Why are you reusing graves at Enfield Memorial Park when you still have so much land available for new interment areas?

  • The remaining undeveloped land at Enfield Memorial Park has been earmarked for the new multi-function precinct and extension of existing interment areas.
  • Our lawn tablet product is our most affordable burial option and is still a popular choice. With only two years of capacity remaining in our General section areas, we now need to consider reuse of some of our older lawn tablet areas to ensure we can continue to offer this product in the long term.
  • In the areas being considered, despite attempts to contact families about renewal of their sites, the vast majority sites have remained expired (and most of these for more than 15 years). While we have continued to maintain these expired graves over this period, this is not sustainable in the long-term.

When I rang 5 years ago, I was told that there were no plans to reuse expired graves at Enfield Memorial Park. Why now?

While there were no plans in place at that time, there has been several factors which have accelerated the need to reuse expired graves at EMP. These include:

  • Increased demand for the lawn tablet product
  • The construction of the new multi-function precinct
  • The demand for sites in premium interment areas
  • A low renewal rate for these older areas of the cemetery, leaving a greater percentage of expired graves in these areas. The cost of maintaining these expired graves is borne by Adelaide Cemeteries.

How long have we got to decide about renewal or claiming the monument?

You still have plenty of time to discuss renewal/memorial claim with your family.  Generally, there is at a least a 2-year period from the time notices are given to the time that unclaimed memorials are removed and sites resold.  We recommend contacting us to find out more information which you can then consider when suitable.

Can I renew an Interment Right at any time?

Yes. Interment Rights can be renewed at any time during the tenure period – you do not have to wait until the Interment Right has expired. The period of renewal is simply added to the Interment Right, extending the expiry date. The minimum renewal period is five years. In most cases, Interment Rights that have expired can also be renewed. For more information please contact us.

Will I be contacted when the Interment Right is about to expire?

Prior to expiry of the Interment Right, we will attempt to contact the Interment Right Holder and/or family representative to advise them of the renewal process. As such, it is important for families to provide us with their current contact details.

If the Interment Right over my family’s site has expired, is it still there and can I renew the Interment Right?

In most cases, yes. We encourage families to contact us to renew the Interment Right as this will ensure that the site is preserved and potentially allow the family to have further loved ones interred into the site. Renewal of the Interment Right also assists Adelaide Cemeteries to maintain the site and the cemetery grounds to a high standard. For more information please contact us.

What happens when an expired Interment Right is considered for re-use?

Adelaide Cemeteries will write to the Interment Right Holder and/or family representative to advise them of their ability to renew the Interment Right. As such, is important for families to provide us with their current contact details.

We also place notification on the grave or memorial site asking the Interment Right Holder or any other interested party to contact us. Advice is also published in the Public Notices section of The Advertiser and on our website.

If after these actions and the Interment Right Holder or other interested party chooses not to renew, or a minimum period of 2 years has elapsed since notice was given and the interment right has not been renewed, ownership of the sites reverts to Adelaide Cemeteries. At this point in time, the site may be re-used in accordance with the Burial and Cremation Act 2013.

What happens to the skeletal remains when a site is reused?

The process of reusing a site is undertaken with the greatest of dignity, care and respect. All skeletal remains are carefully recovered from the site and are placed within an ossuary box and re-interred at a lower depth in the same site.

What happens to the cemetery records when a site is reused?

  • All interment records remain associated with the location, so the records will remain available for searching via our Records Search facility (including the location of the deceased person)
  • Digital photographs of each site are also taken prior to any reuse activities (including images of headstones and tablets). These images are retained permanently and are available to the general public upon request

Can I reclaim the monument?

When families choose not to renew the Interment Right over a site that is being considered for re-use, they may apply to the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority to reclaim the monument. For more information please contact us.

Do you have reflection room and lounge facilities?

Adelaide Cemeteries maintains two tastefully appointed reflection rooms at Enfield Memorial Park, Acacia and Folland. Both air-conditioned rooms are equipped with state of the art audio visual equipment and are complimented by private lounges, ideal for light refreshments following a burial or cremation memorial service.

How many people can each reflection room hold?

The Acacia can accommodate up to 96 people seated as well as 25 standing, while the recently refurbished Folland can seat 110 with a further 30 standing. To cater for larger funerals, the Authority has installed outdoor speakers and projector screens allowing those outside to see and hear the service. For families who prefer everyone to be seated in air-conditioned comfort, both chapels can be connected via the inbuilt audio visual system, allowing the service to be viewed from the adjoining room.

Can the service be recorded or webcast?

Families can choose to have the entire service recorded or webcast securely online. The footage is then combined into a personalised DVD.

What if someone can not make it to the service?

For friends and relatives unable to attend the service we can broadcast the funeral via a secure password protected internet portal, allowing the to participate wherever they are.

Can we bring our own food to functions?

No, in accordance with health and safety regulations, BYO food and beverages is not permitted.

Planning a funeral can be challenging, so we’re ready with the advice and guidance that you need.