Coffin swapping is not the norm, contrary to The Courier Mail

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In recent days the Australian media has swarmed on the funeral industry with a Rockhampton funeral director being caught out swapping an expensive hardwood casket for a cheap wooden coffin. As a journalist for Funeral Directors Australia, I would like to make it crystal clear that funeral directors do not swap coffins. This is not normal. This is not tolerated. This is not accepted. 

Sadly, in any industry, be it the sale of groceries, clothing, consumer retail, electronics, used cars or high retail, there will be someone that feels the need to do something unacceptable to make a quick dollar. Unfortunately, this Rockhampton funeral home has thought it was appropriate to perform a “switcheroo” on a family that trusted them to care for their loved one. I am saddened by this behaviour. When an article like that appears on the front page of the Courier Mail, the whole industry needs to go into damage control to ensure the broader community understand that it was something sinister done by a lone individual motivated by their own interests.

I have spoken to several funeral directors in recent days and their thoughts are much the same – we are disgusted by this behaviour. It is important to put this into perspective, the funeral industry helps hundreds of thousands of families every year, and this single isolated incident has been highlighted as 2018’s funeral story of the year. What about the countless funeral services that happen across the country every day. The utmost care and respect afforded to these families is more often than not left unspoken. The relationship formed between a funeral director and the family they serve is an indescribable bond. The positive impact they have on grieving families is immeasurable. These things go unsaid, while the media promulgates myths of the funeral industry being dishonest and immoral.

I feel for the family that was involved, I truly do. And I wish them the resolution they deserve. I hope the operator of the funeral home involved receives the condemning they deserve by their local community. The Rockhampton community will well and truly be aware of the business involved, and I have no doubt that their wrath will be fierce. Choosing a respected, well known and professional funeral home is the best way for the Rockhampton community to cast their vote and make their thoughts known.

As a visitor to our website, please do not loose trust in funeral directors. They are exceptional people, gifted with an ability to manage an extremely sad and emotionally turbulent time in our lives. They deserve to be seen for who they are, the talent they have got, and the special impact they have on our Australian community every single day.


Erica Marlow

January 12, 2018