Rookwood Open Day

    Rookwood will be having it's open day again this year on the Sunday 14th of September.  The open day will run from 10am to 3pm and include a variety of events like historical talks, parades, crematorium tours, and more.  There will also be multiple stalls and exhibitions from funeral homes and historical groups. So there's certainly plenty to do!

When: 14th September, 10am to 3pm.
Where: Rookwood Cemetery, maps to each gate below.

Map to Rookwood East Gate.

Map to Rookwood West Gate.

For more information:

My post about exploring Rookwood, including how to get there, notable places, and maps.

Rookwood Map.

Rookwood 2014 Open Day Flyer (PDF).

Rookwood 2012 Open Day.



Joseph Medcalf Open Day

Click to enlarge.
    To celebrate 'Dying to Know Day' Joseph Medcalf will be having an open day on Saturday the 9th at 2pm.  This is a rare chance to see and explore the inside of a funeral home, so I think it's well worth going and will certainly be there.

    According to the banner the event will include a tour of the funeral home, discussions about planning funerals, and more.

Location:   447 Burwood Rd, Belmore NSW (google map).

Time:   2:00pm, 9th of August.

To RSVP and for additional information you can email director@josephmedcalf.com.au or call 0433 181 091.

Joseph Medcalf Site: http://josephmedcalf.com.au

Joseph Medcalf Contact Page & Address (with google maps) : http://josephmedcalf.com.au/contact-us

Groundswell Project (with other similar events)http://www.thegroundswellproject.com/find-an-event



Bulls on King St

    Recently the funeral home where I use to work was very briefly featured on the news after two bulls ran down King St, Newtown. Here's the 7 news segment.

7News: Buffalo Roam Sydney

    Clearly, the journalists had fun squeezing in as many puns as possible.



Ask an Undertaker

     This is a reminder about the 'Ask an Undertaker' post, which allows people to anonymously and publicly ask and answer questions about the Australian funeral industry. Anyone can post a question, and I or another person with experience will try and answer it.

Ask an Undertaker link:

    I also have two other sections of this blog which might be useful;

Advice for mourners: Tips and information to make attending a funeral easier
    This section gives advice for people attending a funeral, from how to design an order of service to funeral industry terminology - simply click here.

Working Funerals: Tips and information on how to be an undertaker
    This section discusses and explains the work of funeral staff, from how to conduct a transfer to why feet first - simply click here.

     You can also contact me privately through my email: theothersideoffunerals@gmail.com.



Balancing the Price

    One thing I have come across is the issue of pricing. This is a big issue for all involved in the funeral industry, from mourners to staff, and one I want to discuss in more detail. So today I'll be looking at the balancing act many funeral home have to perform when it comes to pricing.

    That is, the balance between getting paid enough to operate and not overcharging the deceased and/or mourners.


Honours Thesis - Abstract

Honours thesis cover page.
    I've recently been asked a few times where my honours thesis is available to read, or if I can give out copies. Unfortunately my thesis is not, and never will be, publicly available for three main reasons. Firstly, there are concerns for participants who gave their consent to be involved in the research, but not to be involved in the blog. And secondly, because UNSW also has some claim to the thesis and making it publicly available could raise concerns. The third reason is that simply put my thesis is not appropriate for a public audience. That is, it's boring for most people and bogged down in academic jargon.

    So instead every now and then I'll summarise and explain a few select aspects of the thesis which would interest people. For now I'll put up my abstract as it summarises my whole thesis. I might put up extracts from the thesis, but no quotes from participants and nothing more than a few lines. This is a summary and explanation of what it was about and why I employed certain methods.

Social Expressions of Public & Private: Australian Understandings of the Funeral Industry

The notion of public and private is often presented as a dichotomous opposition. This is demonstrated with the Australian funeral industry as it is often argued that the funeral industry operates in a private sphere which is distinctly separate from public accessibility and understanding. This research critically unpacks the application of public and private to the funeral industry with the aim of analysing how notions of ‘public’ and ‘private’ are articulated through the social space of the Australian funeral industry. Surveys and interviews were conducted with funeral staff, celebrants, and members of the general public along with participant observation at two funeral homes, exploring the themes of public and private. Through this it will be argued that public and private does not operate in a clear dichotomy. The research found an overlap in public and private, and unclear boundaries between the notion of ‘public’ and ‘private’, particularly with the perceived reasons and responsibilities for this separation. As such I argue that the dichotomous presentation of public and private does not accurately represent the complex interrelationships and dynamics involved. This thesis provides a unique understanding of how the concept of public and private is articulated in social spaces.



How to Complain About a Funeral

    Over time various people have contacted me through this blog to complain about something related to the funeral industry. These complaints are quite rare and often varied, yet one thing remains common between them. That the majority of people don't know who to complain to or how to complain.

    Many are not really much asking for my advice so much as who to contact. As such here is a post on how to complain. Remember, I am based in Sydney so this information is aimed for the Sydney funeral industry.


Recommended Funeral Homes

    Several people have asked me what funeral homes I would recommend and why. I find this a tough question to answer as personally I feel it is hard to find a 'bad' funeral home because the vast majority are to a respectable standard.


The Walker Group

    The Walker Group, as I call them, is a growing funeral company in Sydney, and it's about time I discussed them. So this is a post describing what I know of this growing company.


The 2013 Events

    This is a collections of past events from this year.  It has been a great year and I look forward to 2014!

Rookwood Picnic -- 18th Jan, 11:00
    A small and casual picnic in Rookwood Cemetery for those interested in the funeral industry.

    Post about the 2013 Rookwood Picnic.

    My blog post with more information.

UNSW Museum of Human Disease -- 18th Feb, 12:30
    This is the only museum of its kind that is open to the public in Sydney, and the staff were very nice, offering to do a presentation and will have someone there to chat with us as part of our visit.

When  -  18th February, 12:30 (lunchtime).
Cost  -  $11 per person (free for UNSW staff and students).
Where  -  Samuels Building, UNSW Kensington campus.

    Post about the 2013 MoHD visit.

    My blog post with more information.

Museum of Human Disease Website:

Rookwood By Night -- 19th March, 19:00
    A visit to Rookwood cemetery at night, to take advantage of the late open hours and to experience it in another light.  This was a great event, fun and different, yet impossible to take any decent photos due to the darkness.

Woronora Open Day -- 13th April, 10:00
    A strangely unknown yet anual event as part of Heritage Week, very few from the funeral industry (that I spoke with) knew anything about it.  But it looks like fun and I will certainly be there.

Pinegrove Memorial Park Open Night -- 30th April, 18:00
    I don't have much information about this just yet, so check back closer to the date.  This is the only InvoCare only open evening that I know of, so could be fun!

    The Pinegrove Events page.

    My blog post about the 2013 Pinegrove open day.

Rookwood Picnic -- 18th August, 12:00pm
    Time for another picnic at Rookwood. This is a casual event open to anyone who might be interested.

When  -  18th August, 12:00 (lunchtime).
Where  -  The Elephant House just off Haslem Drive, in Rookwood Cemetery.

My blog post with more information.

Hidden Art Exhibition at Rookwood -- 21st Sept - 31st Oct
    Every year there is an art exhibition in Rookwood Cemetery, it is free and quite fun, seeing the different exhibits on display among the graves.  I particularly like how some incorporate that specific place of the cemetery within their artwork.

   On the last day they hold a little closing ceremony with videos and food, which was very fun and informative last year.

    Hidden homepage with more information.

ESMP Open Day
 26th Oct

    The 2013 ESMP open day was great fun, well worth the trip.  It's also the only funeral home open day I know of, making it a rare opportunity.

    My post about the ESMP 2013 open day.

    My past post about the ESMP 2012 open day.

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) -- 2nd November
    This is a new event, or at least one I have not heard of in Sydney before. It's a celebration of things related to death and the way life and death are so entangled. There will be a skull painting competition and more.

When  -  2nd November, 9am to 5pm.
Where  -  Gore Hill Oval/ParkCorner of Pacific Hwy and Reserve Rd, St Leonards.

Day of the dead event page.

Living with Our Dead -- 10th November
    Living with our dead is an event organised by a Sydney celebrant to remember and honour the deceased and bring the idea of death into an acceptable and public setting. I don't have any other information at this stage, so if you're interested follow the link below.

Living with our dead site.

Living with our dead FaceBook page.

Macquarie Park Open Day -- Not held in 2013
    I have been asked about this, and the Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium (MPC) open day will not be held in 2013.  The open day is only held every two years according to the website. Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium website.

Rookwood Open Day -- Not held in 2013
    Rookwood is a huge place with a few different organisations working out of it.  As such they have a wonderful open day, from parades to displays and tours.

    Unfortunately this event is only held every second year, so the next one will be in 2014.

    My post about the Rookwood 2012 open day.