Should I order my memorial with a person who is a Member of your Association?
Members of our Association are bound by a Code of Ethics and are required to construct all Memorials in Accordance with Australian Standards and are bound to act in an ethical and responsible manner.
What is a Memorial?
A memorial is a tangible tribute to your family member and an object, which serves as a focus for your memories. The style of the memorial and the information provided should reflect and honor the life of the person it was designed for.
What materials are used to make a Memorial?
Memorials can be made of granite, marble, slate, sandstone or bronze and often-incorporate reinforced concrete foundations and piers to support the structure.
Are Memorials erected to a standard?
All members of our Association are bound to construct a memorial in accordance with the AUSTRALIAN STANDARD FOR MONUMENTS – AS 4204 – 1994
Are our Memorials guaranteed?
Most reputable Monumental Masons will offer a guarantee against faulty workmanship and or materials. Check with the Company you have chosen to ensure they will give you a written guarantee.
Will my memorial be covered by Insurance if vandalized?
This is perhaps one of the hardest questions to deal with. Because your headstone is out in the open and in a public place, we are not aware of any insurance companies that will cover you against vandalism or damage and neither will the Cemetery. Most Cemeteries take acts of vandalism seriously and have measures in place to limit their impact.
Can I design my own Memorial?
Most Monumental Masons are happy to work with your family to create a new and unique design and will be able to advise you if the design and style you choose is within the cemetery regulations.
I am from an Ethnic background – can the inscription be done in my own language?
Generally the answer is yes. Most Monumental Masons have State of the Art computer technology to ensure inscriptions in all languages can be produced and all reputable masons should provide a proofing process to ensure the accuracy of the inscription.
Should the Mason give me a written contract?
All reputable Monumental Masons should supply you with a written copy of your contract, clearly setting out the terms and conditions of the contract.
The contact should include a minimum of:
- Details of the design you have selected (and preferably a sketch), wording, any extras i.e., photo and frame, statues, ceramic roses, engraved artwork etc.
- The total cost of the memorial including fixing, the deposit paid and the balance which is payable on completion.
- The Cemetery fees charged.
- An estimated completion date.
- Details of their guarantee.
What are Cemetery Regulations?
Each Cemetery and Sections within that Cemetery have a set of rules and regulations by which all Monumental Masons must abide. The regulations usually relate to the maximum or minimum height allowed, depth and width of the Memorial and even allowable colors. Every Mason should have a list of the regulations for each Cemetery and can advise you accordingly.
Cemetery fees – what are they?
This is the most asked question by families, as they believe they have already paid all fees relating to the Cemetery and burial. A Cemetery fee is a fee that is charged by the Cemetery to approve your Memorial application. The amount of Cemetery fee charged varies from Cemetery to Cemetery and even the design of the memorial can alter the fee. Your Monumental Mason will collect the money on behalf of the Cemetery and when they apply for permission to erect the memorial, the money is forward to the Cemetery.
Why do I need approval from the Cemetery to erect a memorial?
No Memorial can be placed in a Cemetery without their prior knowledge and approval. The Application for Memorial form which your Mason will ask you sign when you order the Memorial is forwarded to the Cemetery, showing the design you have chosen, the color, the size and the writing you are placing on the headstone.
The cemetery will also check that;
- The person is actually interred in their cemetery.
- That the names, dates etc., coincide with the information they have on their files.
- The correct fee is being paid and that the person who has signed the Application for Memorial form is the authorised person or has the authority to organise the Memorial on behalf of the family of the deceased.
Can my Memorial be any colour?
Most Cemeteries throughout South Australia do not have restrictions on the color of stone to be used. There are however a few Cemeteries where the use of black and dark colorâ€™s is limited. Check with the Cemetery or your Monumental Mason.
What type of lettering is available?
Engraved or incised letters – The letters are sandblasted or cut into the stone. They can be left natural, enamel paint may be added or 22 – 23 carat gold leaf can be used. Recommended for use on Granite, Marble or Sandstone, Natural finish is only to be used on Slate.
Hand “V” cut letters – The letters are sandblasted or cut into the stone and then a “V” is cut by hand using a pneumatic hammer and chisels. They can be left natural, enamel paint may be added or 22 – 23 carat gold leaf can be used. Recommended for use on Granite, Marble or Sandstone, Natural finish is only to be used on Slate.
Embossed letters – The letters are in the color of the stone and the background is sandblasted away i.e., the letters are raised. This style of lettering is highly recommended where tablets are lying flat into the ground. They are the most durable for these harsh conditions. Enamel paint can be added to the background if required to make the lettering stand out more.
Lead letters. The letters are made from lead and highly recommended for use on Marble. The letters are sandblasted into the marble then several individual holes are drilled in each letter into which the lead is beaten by hand and shaped with rasps and sanding blocks to achieve the smooth flat finish.
Raised lead letters. This style of lettering is not as popular and is mostly used when the style of an existing inscription needs to be matched. It is extremely labour intensive and very expensive.
What is the best type of lettering for my headstone?
The best type of lettering is dependent on the type of stone you have selected, plus Cemetery conditions play a major role in “how long the wording will remain readable.” Discuss your ideas with the Mason and will advise you on the best type of lettering for your Cemetery conditions.
The deceased served in the armed services; can we place their service details on the headstone?
Yes you can. Your Monumental Mason will apply for permission online from the Office of Australian War Graves in Canberra who can also advise as to which emblem is applicable to their service.
The deceased was a keen gardener; can we cut a rose or flower onto the headstone?
Yes you can most artwork is possible no matter what the subject. All Masons have a large selection of motifs that can be used, or alternatively bring in a picture of your favorite artwork and they should be able to either cut it by hand or scan it into the computer. Families are encouraged to use personalized motifs as it reflects the character of their loved one.
Can I go into the Cemetery and do the work myself?
Generally the answer is no, most Cemeteries have laws which say that all work carried out must be done by a Monumental Mason who holds a license to work in that Cemetery. The licensed Mason must also hold $20 million dollars in Public Liability Insurance and have a certificate of currency for Work cover or personal Indemnity Insurance. This is designed to not only protect the general public from injury but also avoid damage to other peopleâ€™s memorials.
How do I keep my Memorial clean?
Your Mason should explain to you the best method of maintaining your Memorial. We recommend that only clean water and a chamois or soft clothe be used. NO abrasives, detergents, polishes, brushes or scourers should be used particularly within the lettering.
I have an old family grave that needs some repairs?
Restoration of an old family grave is definitely a task that should be handled by a reputable and experienced Monumental Mason. Over time the structure of the grave may have become unstable and subsequently unsafe. The headstone will probably be made of marble or slate that has weathered over the years and can be fragile to work with and the wrong sort of treatment will often accelerate its decay. We suggest you contact a Mason and meet with them at the Cemetery to discuss your options on restoration of the site.
How long is my lease on the gravesite?
Many people still believe they hold a 99-year lease on the gravesite, but this is not always the case. The length of a lease varies from Cemetery to Cemetery and also depends on whether or not your site is for burial, cremated remains or both. The Funeral Director should have advised you of the tenure of your lease at the time of organizing the funeral. If in doubt contact the Cemetery or ask your Monumental Mason.
If I don’t renew my lease – can I take the Memorial home once it expires?
Some families choose not to keep their family site and most Cemeteries allow for the collection of any stonework on site once the lease has expired. Proof of ownership will be required and the removal will be at the families cost. Headstones can be extremely heavy and cumbersome and in most cases the cemetery will only allow the removal to be performed by a registered Monumental Mason.
What happens to my headstone if I don’t renew the lease?
If you don’t want to keep the stone, the Cemetery will dispose of it for you. They are usually crushed and tumbled and often re-used within the cemetery grounds as gravel. Check with your Cemetery if you have any concerns re the method of disposal.
I have a complaint and my Monumental Mason won’t fix the problem?
From time to time problems and disputes can arise, If you find that you cannot resolve the issue with your Monumental Mason, please provide details of the complaint in writing to our association and we will investigate the issue and will do our best to provide a solution to the problem on your behalf.