Funerals take on new approach

Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
Picture: Adrian Barrett from William Barrett and Sons is dealing with restrictions placed on funerals.
Camera IconPicture: Adrian Barrett from William Barrett and Sons is dealing with restrictions placed on funerals. Credit: Jackson Barrett

Bunbury funeral directors are finding new ways to deliver services, with the attendance at funerals limited to 10 people.

Live streaming services and e-tributes have increased in popularity as families are forced to make difficult decisions over who can attend.

William Barrett and Sons funeral director and Australian Funeral Directors Association vice-president Adrian Barrett says an increase in technology has been the major change.

“Webcasting means people can watch the service live via the internet, or the service can be recorded and uploaded at a later date,” he said.

“We’ve seen a lot more activity on our online memorials where people are sending messages, photos and even videos of condolence.

“We just want to include as many people as possible.”

Archer and Sons Bunbury regional manager Jason Maher said bigger families had been given exemptions to the restrictions.

“Families can apply to the State Health Department for an exemption, it’s an avenue for larger families,” he said.

Archer and Sons has also included family members by driving the hearse past selected homes and placing flowers or balloons in the chapel to represent people unable to attend.

Owner of Lomax Media Dean Lomax is live streaming up to three funerals a week for Archer and Sons.

“Before the restrictions we had shot funerals occasionally when family members were unable to make it, but I could probably count on one hand the amount of funerals I’d done,” he said.

“We try and take as little gear as possible to ensure the family doesn’t have to worry about crews and cameras.

“We try and stay very lean, just enough for us to get a feed and broadcast to YouTube.”

Mr Barrett admitted the restrictions went against the philosophy of the company.

“This has forced us to do things opposite to what we’re there for,” he said.

“Funerals are for people to gather, support each other, hug, kiss, and shake hands.”

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