News & Articles

New Crematorium Opens

Planning for Ipswich’s future not only includes infrastructure – but also how to best manage the city’s cemeteries. Ipswich Cemeteries, operated by Norwood Park Ltd opened the new Ipswich Crematorium with its first cremation taking place in January 2014.

Since that time the Crematorium has developed to include an onsite funeral chapel and catering room.  Families now have a choice of holding their service at the Crematorium or our Funeral Home Chapel located at 22 Warwick Road, Ipswich that features a large and comfy, air-conditioned chapel, with a catering and refreshments room incorporated into the facility – all on one handy location.

Funeral Bond vs Bank Account

Source: Sureplan Friendly Society (Published: April 16, 2013)

The danger of using a bank account to provide for funeral expenses

In 2013 legislation was rushed through parliament that allows the federal government to claim money from bank accounts that have been inactive for three years as “unclaimed moneys”.

From May 31 the government will be able to claim money from accounts that have not had a withdrawal or a deposit made within three years (previously it was seven years) and it will be transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

While the new law has been criticized as a cash grab, the government says that if anyone can prove ownership of the funds from the inactive accounts, the money can be reclaimed from ASIC but this is a process that could take months.

Critics have further pointed out that some of the inactive bank accounts have been set up for rainy day scenarios such as; for inheritance purposes, for a child’s education or to cover funeral expenses.

In effect, the tightening of the time frame for inactive bank accounts means people wanting to plan ahead for their funeral arrangements need to find an alternative funding method otherwise they could leave their family with the headache of reclaiming the bank account balance from ASIC. Considering this, anyone wishing to put some money away for their funeral arrangements, the purchasing of a funeral bond such as our Sureplan Gold is a wise option.

Sureplan Gold is a conserative, low risk fund that invests only in A and AA rated fixed interest securities and cash that could be considered as a funeral saving plan.  Sureplan Gold has no contribution or application fees and people are able to pay in a lump sum or make regular deposits. A A bonus can be credited to members’ policies annually from any surplus (growth) generated in the fund that historically has been as good as a bank. Unlike bank interest, any annual bonus, if paid, is not part of a member’s tax assessable income.

Funeral Bonds are considered an exempt asset for pension purposes up to a maximum threshold (which changes each July 1 yy), therefore useful for people on Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs pensions.  This allows an individual to put away $13,000 (as at 1 July 2018), or in the case of a couple $26,000 and have it not be income or asset tested. This can assist people who are on a part-pension or can help others who are just outside the pension threshold to qualify for a part-pension and the associated fringe benefits.

In addition, should people need to undertake an asset assessment to determine their eligibility for a government subsidy when entering an aged care facility, a funeral bond may also be considered as an exempt asset.

To set up a funeral bond through Sylvan Funerals, please contact us on (07) 3812 4000 or click here for more information

New LoveUrns Cremation Urns

We are proud to announce that we now supply the beautiful range provided by LoveUrns.

All the products within the LoveUrns range are produced in factories where workers and artisans take pride in what they do and each product is lovingly crafted, engraved, hand polished and packed.  It is the dedication and passion for their work that gives us the ability to bring you, LoveUrns® – Handcrafted with Love.

To view the LoveUrns range, click here.

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Donating your body for science

Some families ask whether it is possible to donate one’s body to science. The University of Queensland (School of Biomedical Science) offers a Body Donor Program in which individuals may do this. You must apply to become a donor prior to your death by registering your interest through UQ’s Body Donor Program Coordinator. Please note that not everyone is accepted, depending upon criteria set out by the University of Queensland.

Whilst the body of the deceased must be transported promptly to the University following death, families often need to still have a time of reflection and remembrance which a traditional funeral service provided. Therefore it is possible to have a funeral or memorial service without the deceased present, and our staff can arrange and conduct this service for family as normal. Our staff are available 24 hours on (07) 3812 4000.

For more detailed information on the Body Donor Program or to register your interest with the University of Queensland, please click here to be directed to their website.

Funeral Insurance Mistakes

Leaving funeral insurance too late can be a costly mistake

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released a study they commissioned into the decision process undertaken by consumers when choosing how to fund their future funeral expenses.

The research found that many people undertake very little research and therefore are not aware of all the options available. Those who take out funeral insurance with some of the highly advertised plans are often not aware of the escalating premiums, the total cost of their policy and the consequences of not paying premiums.

This again highlights the cost savings for consumers who obtain cover with Sureplan Family Fund earlier in life.

For anyone aged 55 or younger Sureplan Family Fund is a cost-effective option because:

  • Premiums are fixed, and
  • Premiums are payable only until age 60.

As a comparison: Under Sureplan, a 40 year old taking out $10,000 cover will require just under $5,000 in premiums to be paid.  With other funeral insurers that require premiums paid until age 90 the same level of cover could be costing between $25,000 – $30,000 (depending at which age the policy is taken out).

The ASIC report can be found on the following link;…nsf/…/rep292-published-19-July-2012.pdf




How to Reduce Funeral Costs

Our goal at Sylvan Funerals is to help families plan a beautiful tribute to a life that has been important to them while also keeping funeral costs within their means.  Our commitment to you is that you only pay for services that you have deemed valuable and necessary.  Below we have provided some tips on how you can reduce funeral costs.

Funeral Expenses can be divided into two main categories; Funeral Director Fees (eg: Service Fee, Transfer Fee if any and Coffin/Casket) and Funeral Disbursement Costs.

Funeral Director Fees – can they be reduced?

If you do not require any form of ceremony, or perhaps you wish to personally arrange a Memorial Service at a later date, you could select a direct committal service. This type of service refers to the funeral director delivering your loved one to the crematorium/cemetery privately, with no mourners in attendance. Potential Saving (Approx) $1,000

Coffin Choice – How much should be spent?

Coffin selection is a very personal decision. We will provide you with a wide range of coffin options and assist you to make the choice that is appropriate for your family. The cost of a suitable coffin can be below $1000. To view our standard range of coffins,click here.

Burial or Cremation. Is there a major cost difference?

In most major cemeteries, the cost of purchasing a lawn cemetery plot, interment fee and plaque will always cost more than a cremation fee.

The difference could easily be as much as $2,500 more for the burial option. If required, we can provide cost comparisons on all cemetery and cremation options available to you. Please contact us. Potential Saving (Approx) $2,500 (if selecting Cremation over Burial)

Funeral Notices, are they a requirement?

Most families decide to place a notice in their local or national paper, however a notice in the paper is not compulsory. The cost of a funeral notice varies between newspapers and is calculated according to the number of words. As a guide, we recommend an allowance of $350 for most large, daily newspapers for a standard length notice. If there are only a small number of family and friends to contact, other options such as the personal approach or social media would be more cost effective. Potential Saving (Approx) $350

Is an organist required?

You may choose to have CD music played as people arrive, and as they leave the church/chapel. Should you require assistance accessing certain tracks, we have a large music library to select from or we can source the specific track on your behalf.Potential Saving $55-99

Order of Service Booklets – Can I prepare my own?

Yes. If you have allowed yourself time and you have access to a computer and printer, you may prepare your own service sheets. If you are including an order of service it is advisable to allow your clergy or celebrant to check a proof before hitting the print button. You should also seek advice to ensure you do not infringe copyright laws.  If you feel this task is too much at this time, we have an in-house design and printing service to create your service booklets.  Potential Saving (Approx) $250 (based on 80 booklets)

Floral Tributes – Can I arrange myself?

Yes. You may have a favourite florist or have a close friend or family member who has a flare for floristry who may be able to prepare a floral tribute to be placed on top of the coffin. Potential Saving (Approx) $150-200

Catering Costs – what should be allowed?

The wake or gathering after the funeral can be a very beneficial time. You can engage professional caterers who may also provide the venue, or you may choose to invite family & friends to your home. Alternatively friends at this time are always looking for practical ways to show their care. If a friend can coordinate the catering needs on your behalf then there is a potential saving in this area.  Potential Saving (Approx) $480-600 (Based on 40 people)

Is there a discount for early settlement of the account?

Yes. At Sylvan Funerals a discount is offered to families who are able to settle the account prior to the funeral, or within the agreed time period stated on the funeral account. Potential Saving $220

What are Compassionate Airfares?

Most major airlines will offer “compassionate airfares” for family that are travelling by air to attend a funeral.  When booking airline tickets, state that you are seeking a compassionate airfare for travel to a funeral. They will require verification by fax from the Funeral Director. Contact us with the flight details and direct fax number and we will forward the necessary verification on your behalf.


We have outlined more than $4000 worth of savings, but because everyone’s needs and requirements are individual no one family will save that entire amount.  Our goal is to support families and to allow them to be in control when planning a funeral. This ensures you only pay for services that are valuable and personal to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read our suggestions and we trust it has been helpful to you. Should you wish to discuss your personal funeral needs, a meeting in your home or at our office can be arranged without obligation by contacting us on (07) 3812 4000 or filling out our Enquiry Form.

Welcome to our website

When a new year begins, there also comes fresh outlook and perspective. With this in mind, we would like to introduce you to our refreshed website.

This new look website has many features, which include:

  • Cremation Urn Catalogue (and online ordering)
  • Product galleries
  • Online Funeral Notices
  • Ability to send families condolence messages
  • In-depth information about funerals and preplanning
  • and more…

Please take the time to browse through our new website, and if you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact our staff on 3812 4000 (available 24 hours).