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Gold Coast cemeteries

City of Gold Coast owns and operates eight cemeteries across the city, offering pleasant and cost-effective burial and ashes sites.

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Natural burials

Natural Burials

Natural burial provides a unique, dignified and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional interment practices. City of Gold Coast Cemeteries offers a natural burial area within Alberton Cemetery. Developed and managed using Australian native planting, this area has been designed to be a diverse and self-sustaining ecosystem flush with birds and other wildlife.

Natural Burials

The process of natural burial involves the preparation of the body for interment without the use of embalming fluid or chemical preservatives. The remains are placed in a biodegradable coffin, shroud or urn and laid to rest, allowing them to return to the earth naturally. To help create and preserve the environment, traditional headstones are replaced by native plantings at or near the site of interment. Each grave is recorded with GPS locations to allow current and future generations to locate the final resting place of their loved ones.

While there is no physical identification at the grave, families can choose to have a bronze plaque on the communal memorial tree at the entrance to the burial area

Find answers to frequently asked questions about natural burials below.

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  • Can all cemetery services be purchased prior to need?

    Yes, burial rights and interment fee/s can be prepaid for gravesites, but not the memorial plaque. Plaques are only purchased at need.

    Ashes memorial sites can also be pre-purchased, i.e. ashes gardens and columbarium niches. Interment fees may be applicable at the time of interment.

  • Do I need to use a coffin?

    No. This cemetery follows the principles of internationally recognised ‘green-burial’ or ‘natural earth’ burial. You are not obliged to use a coffin. You may choose to be buried wrapped simply in a shroud of biodegradable material such as silk, cotton or wool. However, if a coffin is used, it should be made from natural untreated materials such as pine, wicker or willow.

  • Why are normal coffins not permitted in the Natural Burial Area?

    Normal coffins are made from chipboard (MDF) which is comprised of unknown timber and other synthetic organic compounds such as glues. These glues contain formaldehyde and other toxic volatile and environmentally persistent organic compounds. When the coffin breaks down these compounds are released into the immediate environment. Some travel away with the natural water flow or seep to the soil surface and are released as gas. Other environmentally persistent organic compounds bind to the surrounding soils and remain toxic for decades.

  • How will the grave be marked for future reference?

    The Natural Burial Area uses no traditional or formal headstones. In fact, grave markers are not allowed at all. Accurate survey details of the grave boundary are recorded on a cemetery map. A copy of this map and GPS coordinates of the grave can be provided on request. The City can organise a memorial plaque be installed on the communal memorial tree at the entrance to the burial area.

  • Why natural burial rather than conventional lawn cemetery or cremation?

    Cremation is a convenient method for conducting a funeral, but it is costly in respect of natural resources and the impact upon the environment. Cremation discharges large amounts of CO2 and other toxic substances such as dioxins and heavy metals like mercury. Studies conducted by consultants engaged by the Centennial Park Authority (SA) also confirmed that cremation contributes an average of 160 kilograms of CO2 to the atmosphere for each cremation. This study also revealed that in the life span of a conventional cemetery, burial in such was an even greater contributor of CO2 due to repetitive maintenance.

  • Will it cost more for burial in the Natural Burial Area?

    No. The Natural Burial Area cemetery does not require extensive and repetitive maintenance compared to a conventional lawn cemetery. There is also no need for extensive roadways and other development infrastructure. There still remains some maintenance of the site relating to weeds and general safety.

  • Can I plant a tree upon the grave of my loved one?

    No. We understand the desire of people to see life blossom from death and the desire to have a living monument of their life, however this is not healthy for the cemetery ecosystem. If each grave had a monument tree then the open forest vegetation pattern would alter drastically and result in the suppression of natural undergrowth grasses and adjoining monument trees. It is a part of the vegetation management plan for this site to ensure that the mature gum trees are not interfered with in any way. They form an integral part of the cemetery ecosystem by supporting fauna such as koala and possum and also feeding native birds.

  • Can I dig and later back-fill the grave for my dearly departed?

    The City carries out all digging of graves and any associated work. However, family members and friends may choose to partly or fully back-fill the grave after the interment.

  • How do I arrange for burial in this cemetery?

    For further information, please call 07 5581 6640 or email


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