Key messages

  • The Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015 were amended in 2020 to provide for remains of unknown identity to be cremated.
  • Cremated remains of unknown identity can be interred or scattered in a public cemetery.
  • An inspector or designated officer of a school of anatomy can apply to inter or cremate body parts.

As part of overseas voluntary body donor programs, Victorian Schools of Anatomy can apply to the Minister for Health for a permit to import cadaveric material for the purposes of surgical teaching. The imported cadaveric material is identified by a reference number only. No personal details relating to the cadaveric material is provided.

A condition of the permit to import cadaveric material is that the remains are cremated when they cease to be of use. Previously there were no provisions under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) to cremate remains of unknown identity. Additionally, school of anatomy officers were not included in the list of prescribed persons permitted to apply to a cemetery trust to inter or cremate body parts.

To address these matters, amendments to the Regulations were developed in consultation with the six Victorian cemetery trusts that operate crematoria, funeral director peak bodies and Victorian schools of anatomy.

The Regulations now provide for:

  • applications for cremation authorisation of remains of unknown identity
  • approval of applications for cremation authorisation of remains of unknown identity
  • the interment or scattering of cremated remains of unknown identity in a public cemetery
  • school of anatomy inspectors and officers to apply as a prescribed person to inter or cremate body parts.

A flow chart demonstrating the process for applying to cremate remains of unknown identity is available for download.