Australia’s multicultural diversity is reflected in the memorialisation of its deceased. Cultural traditions can be identified in the choice of headstone or memorial.

Orthodox Monuments

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Many Anglo burials are memorialised by  simple, classic black granite headstones. These often incorporate religious emblems such as crosses or angels but many have non-denominational imagery such as flowers or images close to the life or personality of the deceased.

The majority of headstones are made from granite or marble but today a wider range of materials can to combined to create a truly unique memorial.

These include glass, bronze, ceramics, stainless steel and vitreous enamel.

Granite has been a traditional choice due to its strength, colour options and longevity. It is worth noting that a few cemeteries may only permit granite headstones.

Another tradition material is marble which is formed through the recrystallization of limestone. However, marble is less resistant to weather erosion and the text becomes less visible over time. Some cemeteries do not permit white marble. Bronze is a very resilient material but it is more expensive than granite.

Australia’s multicultural diversity is reflected in the memorialisation of its deceased

Italian Headstones – Italian-style memorials are frequently full, bed style, memorials. A wider range of highly polished granite colours are chosen, from black through to green or red. White marble is also a common choice. Religious emblems such as crosses and angels occur frequently. Photo quality ceramic images are commonly attached to the headstone as are accessories such as vases and candle boxes.

Indigenous and Islander Headstones – These headstones often incorporate the use of colour and original design work. Native animals, totems and symbols grace the stones. Remote Aboriginal and Islander communities are now embracing new technology over the internet to design their own headstones.

Jewish Headstones – Jewish headstones are very simple, often limited to name and dates in English and Hebrew. Many feature symbols and imagery of the Jewish faith such as The Star of David and the Hanukkah. Grave markers are unveiled after the Kaddish period of mourning is over but no later than one year after death.

Asian Headstones – Asian headstones often use images to reflect cultural heritage. Dragons, bamboo and other native Asian flora are frequently protrayed. The use of red granite is common place. Memorials often incorporate text in both English and Asian languages.

Muslim Headstones – Muslim headstones are of simple, classic design and tend not to be overly elborate. Photos can be incorporated into the design and laser etched or attached as ceramic inlays. Commemorative details of the life of the deceased may be included. Text is often Islamic and English and is frequently enhanced with coloured or gold paint.

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