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Burials and Cremations

Burial and cremation are the only legal ways of disposing of human remains in South Australia [Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA) s 7].

Place of burial

It is an offence to bury a human body in a place that is not a currently authorised cemetery or natural burial ground [Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA) s 8].


It an offence to cremate someone elsewhere than a lawfully established crematorium [Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA) s 9(2)].

A cremation may only take place if a cremation permit has been issued in relation to the body by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages [s 9(1)].

Once a body has been cremated, the ashes may be disposed of or kept as determined by the executor of the estate.

Human remains may not be cremated if the personal representative, parent or child of the deceased person objects to the cremation, unless the deceased person directed, by a will or some other signed and witnessed document, that their body be cremated [Burial and Cremation Act 2013 (SA) s 9(3)].

Overseas burial

It is possible to export a body where the deceased or next of kin have requested that the burial take place overseas. Health authorities must approve a request for export. If, for example, communicable diseases are prevalent in South Australia at the time of death, permission may be refused. This procedure is free of charge, but transportation costs are not.

Burials and Cremations  :  Last Revised: Fri Apr 11th 2014
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.