Arrange a funeral
Caring and compassionate funeral directors – Melbourne and Brisbane-wide
We offer three convenient locations, each with peaceful chapel facilities to accommodate family and friends. We can also host funeral services at other locations if there’s another chapel, church or cemetery you have in mind.
The Bethel Funerals’ difference
Our organisation was established to help others. We feel called to support families through the difficult process of arranging a funeral. We’re also committed to regular, ongoing financial support to those in need – which is why we give our surplus funds away.
Over 25 years’ experience
We have the experience and the empathy to guide people through the funeral planning process. Over the past 25 years, we’ve helped thousands of families just like yours plan the perfect tribute to their loved ones.
We’re committed to caring for you and your family during this difficult time. You can count on our emotional and practical support with whatever you need.
Bethel Funerals is built upon the principles of Christian love and compassion. We seek to offer peace to the families we minister to and hope to those who endure hardship. We conduct funerals for people of all, or no, faith backgrounds.
We’ll take care of all the details, so you don’t have to
We’re a full-service funeral provider. That means we can arrange everything you need to make your service special – from booking venues, organising refreshments and chapels, to assistance with choosing flowers and music. We offer a range of coffins, caskets and urns, and have an extensive network of local suppliers who can help accommodate any special needs. We handle all administrative tasks, including lodging official paperwork and liaising with relevant organisations.
How we care
Collecting your loved one
After your loved one has passed, and a doctor has verified their death, we will organise for them to be moved into our care until the funeral service takes place.
Guidance through funeral service planning
Our experienced team will then guide you through the steps needed to plan the funeral service. We’ll listen carefully to your needs, help clarify your wishes and answer any questions you might have.
Burial or cremation
We offer both burial and cremation. We’ll handle the logistics of whichever option you choose, including liaising with the cemetery on your behalf.
Funeral service officiating and hosting
We’ll ensure that everything works smoothly on the service day, from welcoming and seating guests to carrying out the official proceedings. If you have a minister or celebrant you’d like to officiate, we can work in partnership with them.
Administration and official paperwork
We’ll lodge the death certificate with the relevant government registry on your behalf. We’ll also handle any other necessary paperwork that’s required before or after the funeral.
If you have loved ones who can’t attend in person, we can record and stream the service online. All our chapels are set up for this.
Frequently asked questions
When it comes to children attending a funeral, there’s no right or wrong answer – just what’s best for your situation. Attending a funeral can be an important part of a child’s grieving process and give them a chance to be part of a service where they say goodbye to their loved one.
You could ask your child if they’d like to attend; don’t assume on their behalf. Let them know what happens at the funeral and that grownups will be upset, and give them the choice. If you’re worried about looking after your child while you’re grieving, ask a relative or friend to support them during the service. Keep in mind that children can be a source of comfort to grieving people too.
The main difference between a coffin and a casket is the design. Coffins have a tapered design that’s narrower at the foot and wider at the shoulders; they usually have a fully removable lid. Caskets are rectangular in design and have a hinged lid that allows part, or all, of the person to be seen during a viewing or open-casket funeral. Coffins may be less expensive than caskets, as the interior is usually less ornate and there is less manufacturing and fewer components involved.
The number of people in Australia choosing to be cremated is steadily increasing. While it varies a little between states and territories, cremations now outnumber burials. In saying that, location does make a difference. Cremations are more common in city areas, where crematory facilities are available; burials are more common in rural and remote regions.
In certain cultures, cremation is not favoured, or may even be prohibited within the relevant faith belief. In some cultures, the opposite may occur, with cremation being the custom – for example, in the Hindu tradition.
Embalming is replacing bodily fluids with chemical fluids for the purposes of preservation, infection control, and enhancing the presentation of the deceased.
Embalming can be minimal, or may even be unnecessary in some instances. It may be partially done for the benefit of families wishing to ‘view’ the body. Full embalming may be expected in some cultures, or may need to occur when the body is to be repatriated interstate or overseas.
After the cremation process, only the heavy bones of the deceased are left. They are granulated to provide the ‘ashes’, which are sometimes also called ‘cremated remains’.
The ashes will come in a temporary plastic container. You may choose to purchase a decorative urn to hold them. You can discuss these details with your funeral director.
If the death is unexpected, call Triple 0 (000).
If the death is expected, contact the deceased’s doctor and ask them to visit as soon as possible. A doctor needs to examine the body and officially verify the death. Funeral arrangements can’t be completed until the doctor has done this. The funeral director can then take the deceased into their care. If the deceased doesn’t have a doctor, call Triple 0 (000) and ask for advice.
In Australia, the great majority of deaths occur in hospitals or other care facilities, in which case those authorities take care of the medical formalities. They will contact you if you’re the next of kin and advise what the next steps are.
Many hospitals have their own mortuary, where the deceased is kept until you decide where to hold the funeral. Then the body will be transferred there.
This will be necessary in such instances as:
- death other than by natural causes, including violence, accidental or unusual causes
- death while under anaesthetic (or within 24 hours of the administration of an anaesthetic)
- unexpected death
- death of a person in an institution, a prison, or in police custody, or a drug or alcohol rehabilitation centre, when the cause of death is unknown
- when the deceased had diagnosed dementia (although police may determine coronial involvement not to be necessary)
A coroner will conduct a post-mortem examination, also known as an autopsy, to establish the cause of death.
Once you have determined a funeral director, they will then liaise with coronial staff regarding the release of the deceased into their care.
The funeral director will register the death with Births, Deaths and Marriage Registry in your state after the burial or cremation has occurred. The Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages will provide you with a copy of the death certificate once the death registration has been completed. A death certificate is usually required for legal and estate-handling reasons.
The death certificate is different to the doctor’s report – which is called a ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’. These reports are made within 48 hours of a person’s death by an attending doctor and are required before the funeral can be completed.
In most instances, the next of kin is responsible for arranging the funeral of the deceased – for example, the spouse, child, parent, legal partner or sibling.
Where a person doesn’t have any known relatives, authorities in institutions may need to make necessary arrangements. This is usually done by a social worker or another authorised officer.
While there is no set timeframe for when you need to hold a funeral, delaying the funeral excessively will not help your grief process. Most funerals are conducted within 7-10 days after a person has died. Should the funeral not be able to happen within that timeframe, embalming may be required by our fully qualified embalmer to preserve and present your loved one respectfully.
A viewing gives loved ones the opportunity to see and spend time with the deceased prior to the funeral. In some cultures, it may also occur during the funeral.
In a general sense, there is no obligation to view; however, the therapeutic benefits of a viewing to the grieving process are well regarded and recommended. It’s a matter of personal choice and requires sensitivity in approach, the physical environment and the setting. Provided that explanations are given to children in a language that they can understand, there is no reason why they should not have the opportunity to be involved – however, allow them to decide.
If your loved one dies overseas, your funeral director should liaise with the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian consulate in that country to bring their body back to Australia. We can also work with overseas funeral directors.
If your loved one dies in a different Australian state, we’ll liaise with our network of interstate funeral directors to bring your loved one home.
Grief is a normal process and there is no timeframe for how long it may last. Healing happens gradually. Many worry that they will be unhappy for the rest of their life, but for most people it’s not like that. While you may never get over someone’s death, and you will continue to feel their absence, you will find ways to adapt to life after their death and a new way of living.
Your grief is personal and unique and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. The healing process takes as long as it takes.
It can be hard to know what to say to someone when they’ve just lost someone they love and care deeply about. The simplest and most direct thing you can say to someone is: “I’m so sorry to hear about [name].”
You cannot ‘fix’ things for a grieving person, no matter how much you care for them. Practical activities – like helping out with meal preparation, housework, home maintenance or child minding – can support someone during their grief. Listening to them and talking about the deceased can also help.
If you’re grieving and finding it difficult to move forward with your life, and you think you need more help than what friends and family can give, try talking to a bereavement counsellor.
Contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement for bereavement counselling and other grief support services.
If you’re having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, contact Lifeline’s 24-hour counselling service on 13 11 14.