What you can and can’t do with a loved one’s ashes
Urn — Death Registration Services in Manunda, QLD

What you can and can’t do with a loved one’s ashes

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Cremation is a popular choice for Australians upon the death of a loved one, with many people choosing to scatter their ashes in a place of personal significance. Perhaps your loved one requested to have their remains scattered at sea, or maybe they loved nature and expressed a desire to have their ashes scattered in bushland.

At Cairns Funeral Directors, we know what an important decision it is to honour the memory of your loved one. That’s why we’re here to help you navigate the rules and regulations for scattering ashes in Queensland.

Do you need permission to scatter ashes?

    The Queensland State Government website says you can generally scatter ashes on land or in water and hold a small, private ceremony without the need for a permit. If it’s on private land, then you’ll need to obtain permission from the owner. If you own the land yourself, then the decision is entirely yours.

Scattering ashes on land

While the scattering of ashes on Council or state-owned land in Queensland doesn’t usually require approval, if your loved one requested to have their ashes scattered on private property, you will need the permission of the landowner. If you want to scatter ashes on federally managed land, such as on Commonwealth reserves and in marine areas, you may only do so in accordance with a permit.

Scattering ashes can also be done in cemetery gardens. You can speak to us at Cairns Funeral Directors about your options. We welcome the opportunity to chat with you and answer all your questions.

Scattering ashes in water

If you want to scatter the remains of your loved one into the sea from a boat or other vessel, you must get permission from the owner of that vessel. If you scatter in water from a beach or pier, be mindful of the position of your guests and bystanders and consider the direction of the wind. Make sure no remains are blown back to land or into other people.

Remember that the container holding the ashes will float, so you’ll need to empty the container or choose an urn specifically designed to disintegrate in water.


At Cairns Funeral Directors, we have a range of cremation urns for you to choose from at our funeral home. We can also show you which urns are easiest to open and how to open it beforehand.

Scattering ashes can be a memorable experience that offers comfort during times of grief. Take the time to think about what’s best for you and your family when fulfilling the wishes of your loved one. If you choose not to scatter their ashes, you may consider a cremation memorial, or alternatively, keeping the ashes in a specially chosen urn in your own home.

At Cairns Funeral Directors, we understand how difficult it can be to make these decisions in times of immense grief. That’s why we’re here to support you 24 hours, 7 days a week, and to make your experience as stress-free as possible.