Your questions answered

Council cemeteries

Trying to make decisions about your own burial, or that of a loved one, can be quite confronting and confusing. To help you better understand the services we provide, we’ve compiled a number of answers to frequently asked questions about our cemeteries.

Who makes a funeral booking?
All funerals must be arranged through a funeral director who will contact Council to make the necessary arrangements.
What is an interment right?
An interment right is a contract with a cemetery operator (Council) that allows the right holder to undertake burials in a particular grave or other allotment in the cemetery. The holder of the interment right can determine who can be buried in the grave or other allotment. An interment right is an ‘interest’ in land but the right holder does not become the owner of the land. Interment rights apply to burials in the earth and to burials in mausoleums, crypts and vaults. They also apply to burials of cremated remains in the earth, columbarium or niche wall.
Does the interment right holder own the land where the grave/interment site is?
No. An interment right is not a title deed to that land as many would believe. The ownership of the land, wall, garden and memorials remains with Council.

The interment right holder’s entitlement are limited to access to the burial site and right to arrange memorials within Council guidelines.
Can I transfer an interment right to someone else?
Yes. Please contact Council for the required application form.
What happens to a reserved plot/site when I am deceased?
If the plot will not be occupied by the intended interment right holder/s, then the right of interment will become part of the deceased estate and will be managed by the executor accordingly.
How many interments can take place in a grave site?
This can vary, you will need to check with Council for further information.
Who can place ashes into a site at the cemetery?
All ashes placement must be arranged through a funeral director who will contact Council to make the necessary arrangements.
Where can ashes be interred?
There are options for the placement of ashes including columbarium walls and memorial gardens which allow one (1) set of ashes to be interred in each space.
  • A columbarium wall is a specially designed wall where ashes of the deceased are placed. Only one (1) set of ashes can be interred in each space. A bronze plaque is affixed to the front of the wall covering the space.
  • The ashes positions in the lawn sections of cemeteries allow up to three (3) ash interments per position.
  • Ashes may be interred within burial plots, however, permission from the family of the existing burial/s is required.
Placement of ashes is to be undertaken by a funeral director who will assist you with all the necessary arrangements including any permits that are required through Council.
Do I need permission to scatter ashes?
An interment right is not required for scattering cremated remains in a cemetery.
Can I keep the ashes of a cremated person if I want to?
Yes, there is no requirement to have ashes interred at Council’s cemetery.
Can I have a home burial?
Yes, there are criteria to be established and Council will need to inspect the site. Please contact Council for further details.
How do I know the details of the site I would like to reserve?
Deciding on a site is as simple as visiting the cemetery you wish to reserve your allotment in. It is advised to select a few preferences in case your preferred option is already reserved. Once your preferred site has been selected, contact Council’s Customer Service Centre to confirm availability as well as any conditions and restrictions that may be relevant to the allotment. Once the allotment is confirmed you will need to complete a perpetual interment right application and pay the required fees.

Euroka and West Kempsey Cemeteries are currently closed to reservations.
What do I do if I have not reserved a site and require a plot for immediate use?
Your funeral director will liaise with Council and make all the necessary arrangements. Any associated Council costs will be managed by the funeral director as a part of their service fees to you.
What is an order for interment?
An order for interment is issued only at the time of death. This order is required prior to any interment (burial) in Council’s cemeteries. It indicates that Council authorises a funeral director to bury a deceased person or inter ashes in a particular location in its cemetery. The funeral director must complete and lodge an application prior to the funeral/burial.
What type of monument (headstone) is permitted?
All monumental works carried out in Kempsey Shire Council managed cemeteries are subject to prior approval by Council. Council will only grant a monumental permit with the consent of the grantee of the interment right. The headstones design and size must meet Council’s requirements and be installed by a monumental mason who has obtained a monumental permit approval. An application to erect a monument form is available by contacting Council.
Can anyone place a plaque at a grave?
No. The interment right holder is the only person who can make memorial arrangements unless written advice is received from the interment right holder giving permission for someone else to make those arrangements.
Is Council responsible for the maintenance of memorials?
No. The grantee of the interment right is responsible for the maintenance of memorials and Council accepts no responsibility for the condition or theft of memorials after placement.

Where a grave is to be re-opened for a second interment any monumental work that must be removed to allow that interment is to be arranged by the funeral director on behalf of the family or person arranging the funeral.
Can I plant trees, shrubs, plants etc in the cemetery?
No. This is the responsibility of Council.
Can Council remove items from the gravesite without notice?
Yes. Council can without notice remove:
  • Any prohibited items;
  • Unauthorised works;
  • Unapproved, excessive tributes or incorrectly located flower containers;
  • Any items encroaching onto the lawn;
  • Aged flowers and wreaths.
What are the fees charged for Council cemeteries?
Generally, the costs for interment in a Council cemetery are included in the funeral director’s charges when a burial takes place. A full list of cemetery fees and charges is outlined in Council’s fees and charges.
Can I pre-pay my funeral?
For advice on pre-paid funeral bonds/funeral payment plans contact a funeral director.
How do I engage a gravedigger?
Your funeral director will directly make all arrangements for all grave digging requirements with Council’s interment team.
Where can I go to obtain more information on cemeteries?
For more information please contact Council’s Customer Services on 02 6566 3200 or see Council’s website - www.kempsey.nsw.gov.au/cemeteries