Wednesday, February 14, 2018

One death, two death certificates

A surprise letter arrived in the mail today. It contained the death certificate of my father-in-law who died in Perth, WA on Christmas Day 2017.

Neil was 94 years old and in good health so his death was unexpected. But that's not the surprise.

He had travelled to Perth from Victoria on the train with family to spend Christmas with his grandaughter. He became ill on the train and died in hospital after a very brief illness. He had expressed a wish that he be buried rather cremated so the process of returning his body to Victoria was initiated by family.

You won't be surprised to learn that there was a bit of paperwork involved. We put it in the hands of the undertaker in Neil's home town in Victoria who had to liaise with an undertaker in Perth. A body can't be moved across state borders without a death certificate so the undertaker in Western Australia organised that. We also discovered that bodies cannot be transported by road to Victoria from WA - they must be transported by air. From any other state (including Tasmania) they can be transported in refrigerated vehicles.

So after several weeks the necessary paperwork was completed, the body transferred and many friends and family gathered to celebrate his long and worthwhile life. Neil was buried with his wife, Shirley, who had died earlier in the year.

My husband is one of the executors and he is starting to prepare the usual documents in order to apply for probate. One of the required documents is the death certificate of course, which the Victorian undertaker had passed over to us, so you can imagine my surprise when a second death certificate, also issued from Western Australia, arrived in the post today. There was no covering letter but I note that the registration number is different. All the other details are exactly the same except that the new certificate has a place and date of burial.

Now we're left with a quandary. There are two death certificates.

Will the probate office want both, or just the second one? We'll find out no doubt.


  1. Having worked for Funeral Directors I can understand how and why but it's definitely not the norm! We were just having a debate on Facebook about two Marriage Registrations - one in NSW and one in Victoria - in 1910. Government red tape or ??? Fascinating to hear exactly how and why from someone closely connected.

  2. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

  3. Iam George Hare,s grand/daughter live in Barham..My Nanna was Charlotte McConnell, George,s second wife ..thank you for great history


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