Cemeteries information

In this section:
Interment Rights  |  Order for Interment  |  Immediate use plots  |  Depth of burials  |  Niche walls, memorial gardens and memorial boulders/walls  |  Cemetery requirements  |  Headstone specifications  |  Lawn or beamed sections  |  Monumental sections

Interment Rights

An Interment Right (formerly known as a Burial Licence/Right of Burial) is a contract with a cemetery operator (granted by Council or its predecessors) that allows interment (burial/ashes) to take place in a particular location in a cemetery. The location can be a plot, niche wall, or garden.

There is no entitlement to any land or property. An Interment Right can be purchased to reserve a site or to be used immediately for a burial/interment.

The right is “purchased” and the holder of the Interment Right is the only person able to choose who can be interred (buried) in the grave or cremation site/plot and to allow the installation of headstones, inscriptions or memorials on the site.

Council can lodge a reservation and send an application directly to purchase a pre-need Interment Right or provide a map of the cemetery and a list of available Rights (plots).  For Lake Macquarie City Cemetery prices or more information, email cemeteries@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or contact the Cemeteries Officer on 4921 0333.

A tentative reservation will only be held for four weeks and when the completed application and full payment is received, and an Interment Right Certificate will be issued.

These papers are presented to the Funeral Director so that the burial place can be confirmed with Council when arranging a burial or pre-need funeral.

The ownership of the land, wall, garden, or memorial boulder, remains with Council.

Cemetery Legislation is state regulated by Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW

Order for Interment

An Order for Interment (permit to bury) is required and issued prior to any interment (burial or ashes) in Lake Macquarie City Council’s cemeteries.

The Order for Interment needs to be lodged with Council prior to the burial/placement. The Order for Interment application must be completed and signed by the Interment Right holder.

The Funeral Director coordinates the allocation of available gravesites or, alternatively, can reserve sites for future use. These arrangements are made directly with Council.

An Order for Interment is also required for interment of ashes in a gravesite, up to six lots of ashes can be interred in a grave with two burials.

Immediate use plots

Both, Belmont and Whitebridge cemeteries were originally closed for new burial purchases and reservations in the late 1990s; however, due to demand for burials in these locations immediate use sites have been identified.

Plots are available for immediate use only burials at Belmont and Whitebridge cemeteries for one plot only. Council allocates the site location; burials are excavated to double depth (where conditions allow) and in consecutive order so use of land is sustainable. No reservations for additional plots will be available.

For Lake Macquarie City Cemetery prices or more information, contact the Cemeteries Officer at cemeteries@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or call 4921 0333.

Depth of burials

The number of burials in a plot depends on the natural ground conditions, depth of the first burial and can be restricted due to the landform in the cemetery (rock, water table or type of soil) and prevailing weather conditions.

The Public Health (Disposal of Bodies) Regulation 2012 has guidelines for minimal soil depth requirement. If the first interment (burial) is excavated to a depth of 2.1 metres, the site will accommodate two burials and up to six lots of ashes can be interred in a grave with two burials.

Niche walls, memorial gardens and memorial boulders/walls

A niche wall is a specially designed wall where ashes of the deceased are placed (only one set of ashes can be interred in each space) and a granite memorial plaque with inscription is installed over the 'niche'.  Niche wall/s are available at Belmont, Catherine Hill Bay, Morisset, Toronto, Whitebridge and West Wallsend Cemeteries.

Memorial ash interment gardens are available where ashes urns are interred (buried) into the garden and an inscribed granite plinth is installed for memorialisation. Memorial gardens are available at Belmont, Whitebridge and West Wallsend cemeteries.

A memorial boulder/wall is a large granite rock/wall where a memorial plaque only is placed for those that have passed on. A memorial plaque can provide a place of remembrance for family members and friends to commemorate a life of those that have had their ashes scattered or are buried interstate or overseas.

Places are available for immediate use and for pre-need (reservation) and we can send you site maps that show available spaces to purchase. You can visit the cemetery and then contact Council’s Cemeteries Officer on 4921 0333 to confirm your tentative reservation and send an application. When the completed application and full payment is received, we can then arrange the purchase of space, ordering of plaque, installation, and provision of Interment Right. We can organise pick-up of ashes from your Funeral Director or you can make an appointment to deliver the ashes to Council.

Cemetery requirements

To ensure the safety of employees and visitors, the following requirement are listed.

This assists with site access to mow, maintain and bury at our cemetery locations.

  • Unauthorised kerbing or edging of any description, including concrete, timber, treated logs, ferrous material, bricks or stones, cannot be placed around or in the perimeter of the gravesite.
  • Please place any memorial vases and ornamentation on the headstone area/concrete section of the site only.
  • Flowers may only be placed in the containers that form part of the monument.
  • The placing of glass containers, vases, jars or ornaments inside the cemetery boundary is prohibited.
  • Plants, trees, shrubs and potted plants and grave filling such as bark chips, stones or gravel in, on or around the gravesite is prohibited in the lawn or beamed sections.
  • Ornamental flowers and decorations placed on the lawn surface may be removed to assist with mowing, maintenance or to access other areas of the site for further burials.
  • Monuments can only be installed when approved or supplied by Council.
  • Council reserves the right to realign or alter the position of the garden, niche wall or memorial boulder and/or allotments at its discretion.
  • No monuments, excessive tributes, ornaments/ornamental flowers, containers/other plantings or other items are allowed in, on or around the walls, boulders or gardens. Council reserves the right to remove or dispose of these without notice.
  • All work in the cemetery (monument, memorial, plants etc.) must be authorised by Council.

Headstone specifications

Headstone and kerbing must be of a type and design approved by Council and can only be installed by a Council-approved Monumental Mason or provider who applies for a permit. The Monumental Mason will be able to provide a quotation and information on the specification of headstones. All work must be consistent with Standards Australia - AS 4204:2019 - Headstones and cemetery monuments.

Council will only allow a monumental permit with the consent of the Holder of the Interment Right or Permit Applicant of the Order for Interment and will not be liable for the future care, maintenance, preservation, conservation or restoration of the construction (headstone and surrounds) erected or placed over the grave.

All graves and monuments more than 50 years old are subject to the Heritage Act. It is the responsibility of the applicant and grantee to ensure that the proposed work is consistent with the requirements of the Act.

Individual headstones are permitted in the lawn/beamed sections of the cemeteries and are erected on the concrete beam or path. Headstone, kerbing, surrounds and slabs are only permitted in the monumental sections.

Lawn or beamed sections

In lawn or beamed sections, the headstone:

  • must be installed on the concrete beam,
  • can have the option of up to two flower containers of the same product as the headstone,
  • can be a sloping 'desk-style', affixed to the beam or an upright headstone set on a base 1000mm maximum length x 300mm maximum width, affixed to the beam with a maximum height of 850mm above the beam, including base. Some sections have headstone height limits of 600mm and depth of 240mm.

Monumental sections

To allow for subsidence and settlement a headstone and/or kerbing may be installed up to three months after the burial date.  All full monumental work installed must have detailed drawings and specifications of depth of footings and piers.

If you wish to place only a headstone in the monumental section of the cemetery, it must be set on a concrete/granite base that is placed level and piered into the ground.