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Cemetery rip off

The niche at North Brighton Cemetery for my father’s ashes only takes half of his ashes. I can take the other half myself or leave them and they will be distributed “somewhere in the cemetery”. When he died, my father was 175cm and about 65kg, so it would be reasonable to expect all of his ashes to fit into the niche.

No one from the Adelaide Cemetery Authority can provide me with an explanation. I wonder if the niches are small to increase the number of niches in the columbarium (wall) and increase profits.

I feel that I have been sold half of what I thought I was buying.


What volume of ash do you have and how big is the niche?

According to this article a 65 kg person would produce about 2.3 l of ashes. They say a standard urn is about 3.3 l. So if your niche is only 1 l you have been ripped off.

Another explanation is that you were given an over generous shovelful of ashes from the furnace and you have some extra material. In theory each cremation is discrete but I wonder if that is so in practice.


Most (Columbarium) niches in Australia I have seen are around the size of a standard Australian house brick (about 1.9L). In older cemeteries, they were larger and about the size of a shoe box or bigger.

While the total space will about 1.9L, it has to accommodate a container to hold the ashes and also a space to allow the container to be readily inserted into the hole/niche…as well as a cover plate. This means the effective volume for ashes is significantly less than 1.9L and guessing, could be around half of the niche volume.

If what @syncretic is correct, if a average person produces about 2.3L of ashes, then even with then being jammed loose (unpackaged) into a standard niche, they would not fit. With a container, it is likely that only half of the ashes will be able to be placed in the niche.

They may be made smaller in modern times due to limitations of space…if everyone (in an every increasing population) wanted a large Columbarium niche, then the area and cost to provide these would be substantially more.

There are no ash contamination from the ‘furnace’ burning. Unfortunately I have seen into a modern crematorium and they usually have gas fired ovens which do the trick. The body is laid onto a tray and what remains after cremation is ground forming the ashes. Most if what is left if things that don’t burn and volatilise, such as bones, teeth and small amount of ash from body tissue. What is left is very much 100% from the body placed into the ovens.

What were you sold? Were you sold a niche of a certain volume or did they say it was a place to store 100% of one’s ashes.

Not trying to be flippant, but after cremation, the person being cremated won’t really know what happens to their ashes. The niche (containing ashes) are more for a place for those left behind to remember their lost one. The niches may be smaller to allow love ones to place some in a location which can be visited to remember their loss, as well as other ashes to use for part of the grieving process…such as having a ceremony there the remaining ashes are placed in a location (e.g. under a planted tree, sprinkled into the ocean etc) under the wishes of the lost one or remaining family.


I wasn’t suggesting the OP had anything other than human ash.

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I’ve held/kept the container of two family in recent years, (until final placement). Slightly larger than a house brick, small shoe box, but not quite as heavy might describe the glazed rectangular earthen ware container.

To me it seems a standard size. I can’t imagine a niche being any smaller given the supplied urn and ashes were intended for that purpose.

This all seems out of the ordinary.

P.S. not sure what happened to the titanium hip replacement, but there was a certification for safe removal and disposal of the pacemaker.


The Hip is removed before the ashes are put in a machine that has a metal ball (the machine is often called a homogeniser) to make them more powder like. Many times the metals recovered such as metal teeth fillings are now sent for recycling (they can be melded to other bits and pieces due to the cremation process eg bone). They also use magnets to remove the ferrous metals.


Talking about cemetery rip-offs, this one is a real doozey.