The Importance of Memorials

Memorials are stepping-stones to the past, and to the future - they link the generations.

The word ‘memorial’ derives from the Latin word ‘memos’ which means ‘mindful’. We are certainly mindful of those we loved, and when they die memories remain with us in so many ways.

Memories are precious and it is important to share them with future generations.

Memorials are a practical way of perpetuating these memories and providing a focal point for family, friends and others. Memorials may be as modest or as extravagant as you decide or as you feel the deceased would wish.

Cemeteries offer the opportunity for you to set your memories in stone or bronze for future generations, satisfying an immediate need and preserving our heritage.

Commonly asked questions

1. Why should I memorialise my departed relative? Would they have wanted it?
Memorials pay respect to the departed but they really are for the living. They contribute positively to the grieving process, provide a sense of place and leave a tangible record of a life lived, for the family and future generations.
2. Who may place a memorial / monument on a burial site?
In most cemeteries, the person who holds the Right of Interment Deed/Grant/Licence to the burial site (or if that person is the deceased, their Executor, Administrator or Authorised person) is the only person who has the authority to place a memorial on a burial site or cremation memorial site. Check with the cemetery staff first as prior approval will be required.
3. What sorts of memorials are available?
As a general rule, most memorials fall into three categories:
  • Bronze, Brass or Granite plaque. (cremation memorial or lawn site)
  • Granite or Marble headstone. (usually upright in a lawn section)
  • Full monument, usually of natural stone. (total site covered with a headstone and Ledger (slab)).
The style of monument or memorial plaque permitted, and any choices available should be made known when purchasing the Right to the site, and at the time of selection.
4. I don't know about selecting a monument. Where do l start?
It is always advisable to start at your cemetery office. You will be able to check correctness of records and be advised regarding permissible memorials and monuments. The cemetery may arrange the memorial and installation for you or, if necessary, they will refer you to Monumental Masons who can manufacture and install the monument on the site on your behalf.
5. Why are some monuments more expensive than others?
There are many options available and prices vary considerably.
A bronze memorial plaque may be what is required in the cemetery section you have chosen.
If natural stone or granite is to be used, factors such as size, uniqueness, adornments and the source of the memorial components will influence price. Other factors in the price of a granite or stone monument may be in travel and accommodation costs for the Mason if the burial site is some distance from the Mason's yard.
Australia is one of the oldest continents on this planet and has a great variety of granite. Australian granites are equal in quality to any in the world with a range of spectacular colours available.
6. How should l go about putting a memorial on the grave of my relatives who were buried a long time ago?
Check with the cemetery staff. Conditions may apply relating to the status of the burial site. Administrative staff will be able to assist you with information on burials or interment of cremated remains.
7. May I arrange a memorial for a person buried or cremated elsewhere, perhaps interstate or overseas?
Most cemeteries will provide for this type of memorial. Contact the cemetery staff regarding options available, which may include a Book of Remembrance.
8. Why do I need to pay a cemetery fee to place a monument?
In most cemeteries, when you purchase a monument from a Monumental Mason, that person needs to submit an “Application” or “permit” to the Cemetery Authority, giving details and a plan of the proposed monument. The fee charged ensures some security for you by enacting the cemetery staff to:-
  • Check that the monument will be placed on the correct site.
  • Check that the ''Application'' has been signed by the person who has the authority to place a monument on the site.
  • Assure that the details, design and plan of the monument conforms to the regulations of the Cemetery Authority concerned, and construction complies with Australian Standards.
  • Record the date of placement of the monument in the records relating to the site, and the name of the Mason who did the work.
  • Check from time to time on your behalf during the construction of the monument for compliance with the Application and therefore your wishes.
In summary, the Cemetery Authority is looking after your interests.
9. Can I insure my monument?
There are policies available in some States to cover damage to monuments, and the Cemetery Authority may be able to assist you with further information.

Originally from the information brochure ‘The Importance of a Memorial’ by the Australasian Cemeteries & Crematoria Association, refer Links page for web address.

It should not be assumed that the practices and policies outlined on this page are identical in all crematoria or states