Cremations can bring powerful advantages to grieving families. From retaining a keepsake of their loved one to the flexibility of scattering ashes at a time of their choosing, it’s no wonder cremation services have overtaken traditional burials in Australia.

Personalising a memorial service can bring great strength to friends and families of the deceased. This makes unique cremation ceremonies incredibly special, and scattering ashes at a meaningful location either during or separately from the funeral is an important part of grief and acceptance.

This article helps answer many pressing questions about scattering ashes in Australia, from whether you need permission to potential restrictions about where and when.


Cremations are a safe and closely regulated practice in Western Australia. Loved ones of the deceased simply apply for cremation, after which the ashes are carefully cooled and securely transferred to an accurately labelled container ready for collection.

The cremation authority in question has a duty of care to give the cremated remains to the applicants and must give 14 days’ notice to them before disposing of the remains should they not be collected.

Once you have the ashes of the deceased in your possession, there are many options to choose from on how to best honour your loved one:

  • Place the ashes in a columbarium or mausoleum
  • Bury the remains in a cemetery plot next to loved ones
  • Keep the ashes in an urn, or multiple keepsake urns for relatives
  • Scatter the ashes with consent on private land
  • Scatter the ashes with consent at a public space; the sea, rivers, parks, or beaches
  • Follow the wishes of the deceased and place the ashes at a personal location

If In Doubt, Ask The Council

Many families, and those preparing their wishes for after death, choose to scatter the ashes in a meaningful location. So, are there restrictions for scattering ashes, and do you need permission to do so?

Private property

While it is legal to scatter ashes on private property, there are no hard and fast rules about scattering ashes in Perth. Typical guidelines apply when dealing with private landowners; it’s always recommended to get permission before entering or interfering with their property,

Public property

Scattering ashes on public land is more complicated, as any rules or regulations may vary between different local councils. Always check with the relevant Government body before making arrangements to avoid legal issues, as they may have conditions including:

  • Specific zones where scattering ashes is allowed, or not allowed
  • Set times where such activities are permitted
  • Environmental laws that prohibit scattering ashes, due to water or air pollution risks
  • Permission is required to scatter on public parks, reserves, or beaches

Ashes Are Not (Usually) A Health Risk

The cremation process is incredibly safe, with little chance of health risk, once carried out by a professional. Carrying out some basic research before selecting a cremation provider will go a long way to ensuring the remains of your loved one are treated with respect, with no chance of contamination.

Cremations are completed at extremely hot temperatures, removing the risk of germs, micro-organisms, or other health risks in the process. This means there should be no danger whatsoever when handling or scattering ashes.

Traveling with cremated ashes

While ashes are not typically a health risk, and traveling with ashes is allowed, airlines or other local regulatory bodies may have restrictions when transporting deceased remains.

Simply get in touch with the consulate for whichever country you are planning on taking the ashes to and confirm their guidelines, and ensure you transport them in a sealed container along with the death certificate and cremation statement.

Scattering Ashes In The Ocean

With so many beautiful beaches and stunning sea views, it’s no wonder the ocean is one of the most popular options for scattering ashes in Perth. While you don’t need permission to scatter cremated ashes at a coastline, take care to comply with any local environmental guidelines.

Whether your loved one was an amazing surfer or enjoyed daily walks on the beach, scattering ashes at a lake, river, beach, or ocean can be a significant way to memorialise them once the following elements are taken into consideration:

  • Be aware of the wind direction, and make sure no one the breeze will not blow the ashes toward anyone’s face
  • Scatter the ashes close to the water’s surface
  • Consider pre-loosening the lid before scattering to avoid spills
  • Place only the ashes into the water – never throw in the entire container
  • Choose a biodegradable water-soluble urn if you don’t want to handle ashes
  • Get permission from the sea vessel owner if scattering ashes from a boat

Check Your Local Environmental Guidelines

While you don’t need approval from the Public Health Unit in Australia to scatter ashes, everyone is recommended to consider the potential environmental impact of placing these remains in certain areas. There are many beautiful areas and meaningful options for memorialising ashes after a cremation in Western Australia, so there’s no reason not to take appropriate precautions and find a suitable location.

Western Australia has two main environmental authorities that can be contacted when looking for approval or guidelines on scattering ashes; The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

You Have More Options Than You Think

Just like every life lived is unique and beautiful, there are plenty of original options for scattering the ashes of a lost loved one. Was your relative a keen skydiver? Did they love the thrill of NYE fireworks? Why not take their beloved hobbies and passions into consideration when planning a cremation in Western Australia, and choose a special tribute:

  • Projected from fireworks into the sky
  • Dropped using a drone
  • Released from a hot air balloon
  • Skydiving with the ashes
  • Released from a chartered boat surrounded by friends
  • Planted alongside new flowers or trees

Meaningful cremations in Western Australia

Hetherington Funerals are proud to offer a wide range of options for cremations and prepaid funerals for each group of family and friends that comes through our doors; from eco-burials to special urns for scattering ashes in Perth.

Learn more about the options for pre planned funeral here, or get in touch today to speak to a helpful team member about any queries you may have.