The Public Health Regulation 2022 (the Regulation) allows the Secretary to approve, generally or in a particular case, a person to cremate more than one body in the same retort at any one time.
There are circumstances where a family may request that bodies be cremated together, such as where two sibling children died under the same circumstances, or of a mother and baby who died during childbirth.
The Regulation does not allow more than one body to be cremated in the same crematory retort at the same time to ensure that the ashes they receive are not a mixture of ashes from different people. It is for this reason that cremation authorities no longer attempt to separate wood ash from human ash.
Generally, the cremation retort chamber is not large enough to accommodate two adult size coffins at the same time, and so a request for a cremation of more than one body at a time cannot be fulfilled. If there is any doubt when using an oversized coffin and the capacity of the retort chamber, the cremation authority should be consulted beforehand by the funeral director.
The Regulation section 99 does not allow more than one body to be cremated in the same crematory retort simultaneously, except with the approval of the Secretary.
A person who wishes to cremate more than one body in the same crematory retort must obtain approval from the Secretary. The Secretary’s authority under section 99 of the Regulation has been delegated to local health district public health unit directors (delegation PH310 page 8.65). Accordingly, local health district public health units receive and approve applications to cremate more than one body simultaneously.
An application to the Public Health Unit is to be made by the same person who made and signed the application for cremation. This person must be the executor of the estate of the deceased person, the nearest surviving relative of the deceased person, or another proper person.
Copies of the application to cremate, the cremation permit and the cremation risk advice must be obtained for each of deceased people and be attached to the application to cremate more than one body simultaneously.