Frequently Asked Questions About Cemeteries

Arranging a Funeral

Maintenance of headstones

Locating a Grave

On-site works

Burial Assistance

Reserving a plot

Arranging a Funeral

How soon should a funeral be arranged and how is this organised?

If you have lost a loved one, arrangements through a funeral director will need to be organised.  Discuss with them how soon you wish the service to take place, whom you wish to officiate at the service, the type of service and burial option you wish to have.  Your funeral director will make these arrangements on your behalf and will liaise directly with Council Cemetery Staff regarding the burial arrangements.  You do not need to contact council.

What service does Council provide?

A funeral director makes arrangements with Council cemetery staff to use a new grave site, arrange subsequent burials in an existing grave and to reserve plots.  Council keeps records of the site number, name of deceased, age of deceased etc. Council cemetery attendants prepares the grave for burial and arrange for facilities to be available at the funeral service such as grave lowering machine, shelter, lectern, chairs etc. Council approves headstones/monuments/plaques for consistency purposes.

What options are there for ashes?

After a cremation takes place, Council can assist families who wish to arrange a final resting place of their loved one’s ashes in one of our Cemeteries. Council offers a variety of options for ashes and interments can be arranged either directly with Council or through your chosen funeral director who will directly liaise with Council on your behalf.

Ashes can be interred into the brick Columbarium walls at the Mossman Cemetery, in an existing grave, a new gravesite or the memorial garden.  There is also the option of ashes being placed in a sealed cavity within a headstone which is prepared by a monumental mason.  Please note there are two Columbarium walls in the Mossman Cemetery, one of which is not Council operated being the southern facing wall.  If you prefer a niche in this private wall, please contact Council for further details.

If wishing to inter ashes into Council’s Columbarium Wall, this option includes the manufacturing and affixing of a memorial bronze plaque.  Our application form for this option includes a section to include your chosen wording for the plaque.  Both Columbarium walls have single and double niches and can be purchased either at the time of interment, or pre-purchased and reserve for a future interment.  They can also be purchased as a memorial only with a plaque installed.

For consistency reasons, the bronze plaque order form forms part of the application process and is included in the inurnment fees.  Plaques are currently manufactured by Worssell and Company

All plots have the provision for up to six ashes and two burials.  Should you wish to have your loved ones’ ashes interred into a new or existing plot, you will need to complete a cemetery application form and lodge with council along with the prescribed fee. Alternatively, you may wish to seek the services of a funeral director who can arrange this with Council on your behalf.

If you are arranging ashes to be interred into an existing plot, the application must be signed by either the Right of Burial Holder or by an authorised family representative.

If lodging your application directly with Council, please lodge with your payment in person at any of our customer service counter in our Mossman Office or Port Douglas Hub Counter.  Alternatively, you can send your application in via email to and Council will contact you to arrange payment.  Please note, no arrangements will be made until payment has been received.

What facilities are provided for a funeral service?

Council provides a temporary shelter over the gravesite, chairs, lowering machine and lectern.  Your funeral director can organise a celebrant and other religious services.

Maintenance of headstones/memorial/plaques

Who is responsible for maintenance of the tiles/granite etc?

Whilst Council staff endeavour to maintain the cemeteries to the highest possible standards, the families are responsible for repairs to tiles and granite cracks from wear and tear over time.

Can I leave personal mementos (tributes) or decorations (adornments) on graves?

Council has a detailed policy regarding the placement of tributes or adornments on graves which is designed to ensure the general public can visit the cemeteries and enjoy a safe, tidy and well-maintained environment for peaceful reflection. The Adornment of Graves General Policy is available, here. Note that the sections within each cemetery (ie Monumental, Lawn Plaque etc) have different specifications for placement of adornments and installation of monuments.

Council provides plastic vases (with a ground spike) for a small bouquet for some sections of the cemeteries.  Items not permitted are removed by Cemetery Staff on a regular basis and will be kept on site for a short period of time for collection. We encourage families to collect any items of significance or value before being disposed of.

For bronze plaque memorials on the columbarium wall there is the option to purchase a small vase.  This is a small vase that is attached to the wall beside your niche to hold flowers.  These vases are narrow but are able to hold one thick stemmed flower or a small bouquet of flowers.

Locating a Grave

Can I plant a tree, shrub or alike on my loved ones grave?

No, these can affect the integrity of the gravesite and other surrounding gravesites.  This can also impede on cemetery grounds maintenance.

Locating a Grave

I want to visit a family member or friend at a cemetery how can I find them?

To find the location of grave sites, please contact council on 07 4099 9444 or email

Council will be releasing an interactive mapping system very soon!  Watch this space.

Arranging a headstone/memorial/plaques

Who organises the plaques/headstones/monuments/bases?

Your funeral director can organise this for you, or alternatively you may want to get quotes from monumental masons.

Please note that contractors must hold appropriate public liability insurance.

When is the headstone/plaque/monuments/base installed?

It usually takes 3-5 weeks after a funeral as some manufacturing takes place interstate, but could be longer depending on section and cemetery.

Can existing graves be added to?

Yes. To find out if you can add to an existing site, please speak to your funeral director.

Can I put a new plaque/headstone/monument on an old grave?

Yes. Please speak to a monumental mason to arrange manufacture and installation and notify Council of your intentions.

What are the maximum size dimensions of monuments, headstones, plaque permitted?

Maximum measurements are outlined in the application forms – CM04-Application for Cemetery installations & On-site works (headstones & vaults only) and CM-09 Application For Cemetery Installation And On-Site Works Plaque Only.

Locating a Grave

Government Financial Burial Assistance

Government Financial Burial Assistance

The Queensland Government offers financial burial assistance for eligible persons.  Please note that there are limitations that apply to the assistance Scheme and it is important to fully understand what they are.  Please visit their website for further information

Reserving a plot

Can I reserve a plot/niche for future use?

Yes.  Please complete the “CM02 – Application for Reservation of a Cemetery Site” and submit to, over the counter or via post.  Once applied for and the fee paid, you will receive a Certificate of Reservation for safe keeping.

Can I transfer or surrender a reserve plot?

Yes.  Please complete the “CM05 – Surrender or Transfer of Cemetery Reservation” form and to, over the counter or via post.  An administration fee will apply.