Family's ashes anguish persists

Davina Clark, who found an envelope with her late father’s ashes in it in her mailbox, has not paid the funeral director.
Davina Clark, who found an envelope with her late father’s ashes in it in her mailbox, has not paid the funeral director. Jason Dougherty

A ROSEMOUNT mother whose father's ashes were sent express post and left at a mailbox has never been made to pay the bill.

Davina Clark, 41, said she had not heard a word from the funeral directors since she spoke to the Daily about the cremation of her 64-year-old father last year.

This includes any request for payment of $1300 for the company's services, which culminated in 64-year-old David Smart's ashes being left in an express post bag for several hours at her mailbox, 100 metres from her house.

The single mother-of-four was not at home at the time.

Ms Clark has learned another family suffered similar treatment.

An Ipswich family claimed funeral directors lied to them repeatedly last week about where their father was cremated.

The Independent Funeral Directors Association of Australia said the distressed family queried the death certificate with the crematorium after some discrepancies and made the shocking discovery that the business had not cremated their father.

“When they called the funeral director, he said it was a mistake, that it was a crematorium in north Brisbane, so we gave the family all the names of the crematoriums north of Brisbane,” she said.

The family called each of the businesses nominated, but none of them had performed the service.

IFDAA president Esther Swanborough said the family was later told it was a Sunshine Coast crematorium, but again checks proved this information to be incorrect.

Ms Swanborough said the family later discovered that their father's body had been cremated in Central Queensland.

“It is just so, so painful for the family,” she said.

Ms Swanborough said she believed these incidents were just an example of many similar stories in the unregulated funeral directors' industry.

“We've got a lot of dishonest people in this industry, which makes the legitimate operators extremely angry,” Ms Swanborough said.

Ms Clark said her family, including children 22-year-old Nicola, Jessica, 13, and twins Timothy and Aleesha, 11, had struggled to move on.

She said while she had not been made pay the bill it was no comfort and she believed the funeral directors should face some penalty.

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