Options for burials and ashes

Kempsey Shire cemeteries offer a range of options for burials or the interment of ashes into a burial site. This includes general and lawn sections and sections for different religious denominations.

Ashes can be placed in:

  • columbarium or niche walls. Only one set of ashes can be placed in each space. A bronze plaque is attached to the front of the wall covering the space. 
  • the lawn sections of cemeteries. Three ash interments are allowed in each position.
  • existing burial plots. You will need permission from the family of the deceased person to bury ashes in an existing plot.

Please note Council is not involved in funeral arrangements. You should contact a funeral director to help you arrange a funeral. Your funeral director will obtain the required Council permits.

How to make a reservation

Once you have visited the local cemeteries and chosen a site, please contact Council to confirm the availability of a grave or allotment at that cemetery. Council will also let you know about any special conditions or restrictions at the site.

You will be required to purchase a Perpetual Interment Right, which is available for reservation or immediate use. You must complete an Application for a Perpetual Interment Right(PDF, 114KB)

How to transfer an interment right

The holder of an interment right decides who can be buried in a grave or allotment. Interment rights apply to burials in the earth, mausoleums, crypts and vaults. They also apply to the placement of cremated remains in the earth, columbarium walls or niche walls.

To transfer an interment right to someone else, you must complete a Transfer of a Perpetual Interment Right by Holder form(PDF, 117KB)

More information

The NSW Government has developed a General Consumer Guide to Interment Rights to explain the interment rights system in detail. 

Monuments and headstones

Council must approve all monumental works carried out in cemeteries. Headstones are to be installed by a licensed monumental mason, whose work must be consistent with Australian Standard AS4204, Headstones and Cemetery Monuments.

For Council approval, the mason and interment right holder must together complete an Application to Carry Out Work in Cemeteries(PDF, 94KB)

In the lawn section of the cemeteries, an approved headstone can be placed on the concrete beam at the head of the grave. See Headstone Specifications(PDF, 44KB) for the typical concrete block detail for lawn cemetery burials at East Kempsey and Frederickton.

If the burial is in an older monumental section of a cemetery, an approved headstone and/or kerbing or slab may be installed

If monumental work must be removed to allow a grave to be re-opened for a second interment, this must be arranged by the funeral director on behalf of the person arranging the funeral. 

Graves and monuments 50 years and older are subject to the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW). Any proposed work must meet the requirements of the Act. 

Council is not liable for the care, maintenance, preservation, conservation or restoration of the construction (headstone and surrounds) erected or placed over the grave. 

Grave location enquiries

To find the location of a gravesite or plot, search the Kempsey Shire Council Cemeteries Register.

It provides:

  • details about the plot
  • the date the person was buried
  • the name of any other person buried in the grave
  • the location of the plot in the cemetery.

Council took control of the cemeteries in Kempsey Shire in 1967. Unfortunately, there are some unknown or unmarked graves and incomplete records.

Family history

Macleay River Historical Society has an extensive collection of local history and family files, including cemetery records. These are available to anyone wishing to research local families, locations and topics.

Other useful resources include:

Maintaining our cemeteries

Cemeteries are special places in our community. Government regulations allow Council to maintain cemeteries to a high standard and ensure they remain safe, clean and tidy for all.

Flowers and plants

You should place flowers in containers that form part of the monument. Council regularly checks cemeteries and will remove old flowers and wreaths. Please do not plant trees, shrubs or flowers in cemetery grounds.

It is important to respect your neighbours. Your tributes to your loved one should not encroach on any other graves, as this may distress other families.

Prohibited items

Grave sites

The following items are not permitted at any grave site:

  • glass containers, vases or jars 
  • plants, trees, shrubs or potted plants
  • flags, clothing or decorations on spikes.


The following items are not permitted on lawn surfaces:

  • grave site markers of any kind, including rocks, pebbles, pavers, fencing, timber edging or bricks, outlining a grave site
  • ornaments, solar-powered lights or grave filling such as bark chips, stones or gravel.