Cremation & Memorials

Cremation is an increasingly popular option with approximately 60% of all Victorian families choosing this method of disposition. The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust owns and operates 9 modern cremators located at 3 sites across Metropolitan Melbourne. 

Each of our crematoria are fully equipped to meet the needs of families at the time of a bereavement, including the provision of purpose built chapels for hosting funeral services and post-service refreshment facilities.

What is the cremation process?

Cremation is the process in which a deceased human body is reduced to ashes by fire. The cremation involves the use of specially designed kilns (known as cremators) to burn the coffin/casket and the body at a temperature of approximately 900oc. The cremation process typically takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours to complete followed by the processing of the cremated remains "ashes" in preparation for their return to the family. Each cremation is carried out individually. In Victoria, cremation is regulated by the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act (VIC) 2003 and Regulations (VIC) 2005.

Verification of Deceased

Following the funeral service, the coffin/casket is moved from the hearse or chapel into the cremation room.  At this time crematorium staff complete a range of checks to ensure that all documentation is correct, including verification of the deceased's identity as stated on the medical certificates and application for cremation. In addition to confirmation of death, the medical certificate also indicates if battery powered devices (such as cardiac pacemakers) have been removed from the body.

When Will the Cremation Occur?

In most cases the cremation process will take place on the same day as the funeral service. Once the casket/coffin has been received and verified by the crematorium, GMCT staff will immediately begin the cremation process. In some instances the cremation process will not be able to occur on the same day as the funeral service and will require the coffin/casket to be held over to the next day. Cremation capacity can vary from day to day and the holding over of cremations is part of our standard operating procedure to enable the GMCT to meet the needs of as many families as possible each day.  In cases where a hold-over is necessary, the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust will:

  • Hold the coffin/casket in a secure refrigerated holding room;
  • Immediately notify the relevant funeral director;
  • Commence the cremation as a matter of priority at the commencement of the following day.

Preparation for Cremation

When cremation is due to occur:

  • The coffin is transferred onto the loading device
  • Any item that may hinder the cremation process is removed such as handles and/or flowers
  • The name plate is removed and placed alongside the cremator, for identification throughout the process
  • The coffin/casket is inserted into the cremator
  • The cremation process begins immediately
  • In all cases, the coffin/casket and deceased are cremated together; the coffin/casket is NEVER opened by crematorium staff

Cremated Remains or Ashes

Commonly the cremated remains are referred to as 'ashes', however they are not technically ashes. The cremated remains are mostly inorganic minerals including calcium phosphate, sodium and potassium salts.  Following the cremation the cremated remains are left to cool before being further processed to reduce the larger bone fragments to a fine consistency that gives rise to the term 'ashes'.  The ashes are then transferred into a sealed plastic urn with the name-plate and a registration label. The urn in most cases is sufficiently sized to accommodate all of the cremated remains, however in some cases multiple urns are required.

Unclaimed Cremated Remains

In most cases the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust receives written instruction from the originator at the time of cremation application. Where no instructions are received or the cremated remains are left uncollected, they will be held in secure storage for a period of 12 months in accordance with the Act.  After this time unclaimed cremated remains may be scattered within the grounds of the crematorium.

What can we do with Cremated Remains?

To commemorate the life of a loved one, cremated remains can be memorialised at one of our locations (a cremated remains memorial), placed on display in an urn, scattered - or any combination of these options. The choice is yours. Across our locations we offer a wide variety of cremated remains memorial options. Below is a description of some of the memorial options available.

  • Rose Memorials
  • Garden Memorials
  • Tree Memorials
  • Boulder Memorials
  • Wall Niche
  • Columbarium

Need help?

Our Customer Care Team is here to help you through this process.
Please either email enquiries@gmct.com.au or call us on 1300 022 298 to make an appointment.