The sign in the ash storage room of the Sydney crematorium said it all: "Family to collect at a later date."
Bereaved families are leaving the ashes of their loved ones behind in boxes in funeral homes and crematoria at a greater rate than ever before, according to NSW funeral directors and industry sources.
About 67 per cent of the 56,000 people who die in NSW are cremated, and only a third of them are "memorialised" at a cemetery, according to Crematoria and Cemeteries NSW (CCNSW), the government body set up in 2014 to oversee the industry.
Its figures on the "disposition of ashes" (the volume of ashes scattered at a cemetery or interred) shows only 32.5 per cent are interred, for example in a niche wall, or scattered in a cemetery.
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