Stopping Traffic

    Undertakers have a long tradition of stopping traffic, it is a natural part of the industry that many think little of.  However, should they really be doing this?


Talking to me

    A few people have said how they didn't want to bother me much, or to take up my time.  But by far one of the best things about this blog is chatting to others interested in the funeral industry from all over the place.

    I genuinely enjoy chatting with people, so never hesitate to email me!  Not only is it fun, but it's sometimes a welcome break from work.

   So email me, or chat instantly via google plus, or even leave a comment on the blog.  I might not always answer immediately, but I will always enjoy and appreciate hearing from others.

    For now I'll leave this with a funny saying I once heard: "never annoy a funeral director, or you might get a free funeral"



Appropriate In a Cemetery

    What is appropriate in a cemetery is quite a debatable thing, but I have found that many take a reverential and highly respectful view of cemeteries.  However, this view requires a certain distancing from the cemetery, that those who think this way cannot understand the cemetery itself and cannot visit cemeteries regularly.


Working Funerals - Why Foot First

    This is an oddly common question, and one I had not really looked into or thought much about until others asked me.  The foot first method has a strong symbolism to it, but it also has a very practical reason.


The Criticism Cycle

A while ago I wrote a post about the 'vulnerable capties' of the funeral industry, how the public perception is that the funeral customer is locked into using the industry and vulnerable while using it.


Museum of Human Disease Day

    The Museum of Human Disease was really fun little excursion, it really was a very interesting and informative day.  Everyone had a great time, as usual it was only a small group.  But this made it more personal and relaxing.

    After visiting this museum and chatting to the staff I might tie in more events along these lines.  I'll certainly be visiting between classes when uni starts.


First letter of support - Lady Anne Funerals

    I would like to take time to say thank you to Lady Anne funerals, this a busy company and yet they have always taken time to help me how they can.  Lady Anne has been supportive and friendly,  right from when we first met at the 2012 Rookwood Open Day.

    This was the first company to let me in and write about publicly on the blog.  They went so far as to let me take photos of just about anything and chat with staff freely.

    Recently Lady Anne gave me the first letter of support!

    Thank you Lady Anne; to the company, staff, and owner/manager, you were the first for a few things for my blog and honours.  So you will be the first I think of when I look back fondly at my early experiences studying the industry.

    Lady Anne is a genuinely excellent company, many might rightly talk about how there is nothing wrong with the industry or that they have nothing to hide.  But Lady Anne takes the time to prove it.



Ethics letters of support reminder

    A reminder, I'm looking for letters of support from funeral companies, the ethics paperwork has to be submitted by the 5th of March.  So I am going to chasing up companies properly over the next week to find letters.

   The letters are not a commitment or obligation from the company, nor will this be seen by anyone except a handful of ethics people; but the letters are essential to my application as without them I suspect approval will be denied or delayed.  The letter does not say how a company will work with me, companies are more than entitled to their own individual conditions and restrictions as they see fit.

    Really, the letter of support really is just a symbol to the ethics pannel/committee that there are some companies willing (in theory) to work with me.  It proves that my research project is at least possible.  It's little more than this, and yet I cannot do much without at least two to three.

    Basically it's six months of potential work for a 20,000 word thesis; I will get approval after March (if I make that deadline) and have to have the thesis mostly completed in September.  Missing the March deadline will push everything back to April, meaning I only get five months to do the work the same work.  So if there is a hint of desperation in my tone I think it's well justified, I can't even start recruiting potential participants without ethics approval.

    I have even written the letter, so all that it needs is the company name and a signature.

    If there are any questions, or you are interested in providing a letter of support, then contact me through: theothersideoffunerals@gmail.com.

    My supervisor (Dr. Amanda Kearney) would also be happy to answer any questions, but I won't be posting her contact details on this public blog.  If you want to contact her simply email me and I will provide her details.


UNSW Museum of Human Disease Reminder & Update

    This Monday (18th of Feb) we are visiting the Museum of Human Disease at UNSW, the only museum of its kind to be open to the public.  We will be meeting at 12:30, then the presentation is at 13:00.

    Here is a video by the museum, explaining what it is and what it's like in more detail.  This video is actually quite decent and shows some of the exhibits (from a distance).

Museum of Human Disease Introduction Video

    Below are details on the museum's location, as well as tips and tricks for parking and getting around UNSW for anyone who might be interested.


Desire for Order of Service Template

    There is a strong desire for order of service templates, this post where I discuss making an order of service is getting an average of 53 views or more each day (and growing).  This blog will quite regularly get significant views based on people desiring an order of service example or template.

    So I have decided to host a few order of service templates.  Continue below to see how you can submit your own template!  I will also accept guides or tips for the order of service, but the focus is on templates.


Short History of the Australian Funeral Industry

    As part of my honours research I have been looking into the history of the funeral industry, which might be interesting to a few people.  In doing so I have also discovered many sources are long and dense, or difficult to find.  So here is a short summary of what I know so far, everything in one place, and put simply!


Ask an Undertaker

     This is a post dedicated to allowing people to anonymously and publicly ask and answer questions about the Australian funeral industry. Anyone can ask a question in the comments below, and either I or someone else with experience will do our best to answer it.  Feel free to ask anything, or to even answer someone else's question!  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.



Need Ethics Letter of Support !!

    As many might know I am diving into honours in anthropology/sociology this year, and will be studying the funeral industry.  Today my mentor suggested I get letters of support from some companies or organisations within the funeral industry to help with my ethics paperwork.

    So I am putting out a public request for a letter of support from any company or organisation willing to work with me!!

    If interested let me know and I will give you the details, I am even writing a letter template so all you will need to do is fill in the specific company name and stick their letterhead on it.  As always, feel free to ask me any questions about this.

    The letter is NOT a commitment of any sort!  It is a simple letter to say that, in theory, the company or organisation is willing to work with me, signing the letter does not require a company to work with me in any way.  Furthermore those companies and individuals who do work with me will have the option to withdraw at any point for any reason.


On a side note; for anyone interested some of the ethics documents are available to the public via the links below:




Cortege Chaos at ESMP

    This Monday I was at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park (ESMP) taking photos of the WWI graves, all part of my look at the history of the funeral industry (all coming soon).  There I was, doing my thing when I noticed a mourner park their white SUV in a rather inappropriate spot, on a narrow road with two tight bends to it (shown below).


Facebook Graph Search: Useful research tool

    A while ago Facebook announced the new 'Graph Search' feature, which I paid little attention to at the time.  Recently however, I had a look at it and it looks incredibly useful to me, and to the funeral industry.  So I thought I would share it with others who might not be aware of it.


Event - UNSW Museum of Human Disease

    After the success of the Rookwood Picnic I will be organising more events throughout the year.  The first is a visit to the Museum of Human Disease at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) on the 18th of February.

    This is the only museum of its kind to be open to the public in Sydney, and the staff were very keen on having us attend.  They even offered to do a little presentation (at no extra cost) and will have one of the staff available to chat with us at 1:30, he did the mortuary sciences course and is in charge of maintaining the displays.

    I spent a little time here to see what it was like, and I was very impressed.  There is a large variety of very interesting displays, so it is well worth the $11 entry fee.

    It should be noted that this is not for everyone, as the displays are human parts with various illnesses (and some medical tools).  Personally I found it incredibly fun and interesting, and not confronting in the slightest, after all, they have high schools visit regularly.  Just be aware of what is on display before entering.

When  -  18th February, 12:30 (lunchtime).
* Arrive at about 12:30.
* Presentation at 1:00pm.
* Casual chat with staff member at 1:30pm.
Cost  -  $11 per person (free for UNSW staff and students).
Where  -  Ground floor of Samuels Building, UNSW, grid reference F25 on UNSW maps.

    Anyone interested please let me know soon!!  Do so by emailing me at:
    Or through the facebook page for this event:

-- If there are any concerns or questions you can contact me, or the museum itself (the staff were very friendly) with the information provided in this post.

UNSW Museum of Disease Links & Information:

Ground floor of Samuels Building, UNSW Kensington Campus.
Grid reference F25 on UNSW maps.

$11 per person, free for UNSW students and staff.

T (02) 9385 1522

Weekdays, 9am to 5pm.

Museum conditions of entry:
- Bags must be checked before entering.
- Strictly no photography or film inside.
- No food or drink.



Modern Funerals TV Segment

    Channel 10's 'The Project' had a segment on the modern funeral, on the 22nd of February 2013.  How funerals in the "last five years" are moving to a more personal service as the funeral service and the funeral industry modernises.

Interacting with InvoCare

    I would like to announce that InvoCare is willing to support this blog and will seek to support the honours research.  Which is a seriously big advantage for me!  In light of this I thought it appropriate to write about my interaction with InvoCare up to this point.  As it has significantly influenced how I see InvoCare.

    Hopefully this post will help others understand my perception of InvoCare!