Creative and emotionally healthy funerals are making waves in communities that value personal choices, resourcefulness and good old wholesome naturalness, but for reasons of expense they also appeal to blue collar workers.
A rejuvenated fire station in Port Kembla, cradled between the Illawarra region’s industrial centre and the sea, is home to Tender Funerals: the first not-for-profit funeral service in Australia.
Ashleigh Martin is a part-time director at the parlour.”We’re about empowering families to make the choices they need to make to have a beautiful funeral,” she said. Since its inception in 2016, the community-run organisation has guided over 300 families and loved ones through their losses.
The parlour offers a multitude of services that assist people to have memorable personalised ceremonies, the latest trend in the industry is bio-degradable woven wicker coffins, handmade in the Byron Shire.

Read more about Tender Funerals and the work they are doing in Southern NSW here, courtesy of  ABC Illawarra By Sarah Moss and Renee Sant.

Image: Funeral director Ashleigh Martin with woven casket available at Tender Funerals (Courtesy of ABC Illawarra)