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Ashes to ashes

Wednesday, 31st July, 2013

By Kurtis J Eichler

Cremations are on the rise in Broken Hill as people look for cut-price funeral plans and “no frills” send-offs.

Once the second choice behind the traditional burial, cremation is slowly becoming the most popular choice in the face of a less religious and conservative society.

Fred J Potter’s funeral operator, Julie Hicks, said that about 60 per cent of all funerals resulted in cremation now, compared to about 30 per cent in 1998.

Ms Hicks said cost was the main factor in people choosing not to go six feet under.

“We have a very lovely rose garden at the cemetery that the council maintains,” she said.

“But if it’s a burial, the family has to maintain the grave.”

Cremation costs around a couple of thousand dollars compared to a burial that can be more expensive because of add-ons like a headstone.

There is also no limit to how many urns can be buried in a gravesite containing two bodies, meaning families can stay together, even in the afterlife. 

The rise in cremation can also be attributed to Broken Hill having its own crematorium at the airport.

Councillor Peter Black said he had noticed a recent swing towards cremation.

“When I first become mayor there were no cremations,” Clr Black said.

Pet cremations are also on the rise. 

Veterinarian Dr Guillaume Tabuteau said he’d noticed a slight rise in the demand for them.

He said some see cremation as a “personal” send-off and a “sign of remembrance”.

Pet cremation costs between $400 and $600 depending on freight, the container size, the type of urn and the size of the animal.

Figures obtained by the BDT show cremation and burial share equal popularity, though.

Of the 583 internments since July 1, 2010, 293 were cremations compared to 290 burials.

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