Research and Renew

Our Cemetery Records System holds records of interments, entombments, cremations, and memorials dating back to 1899.
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Ensuring the Future | Honouring the Past

Karrakatta continues to be the chosen resting place for many Western Australians. It is our most prominent cemetery, and has been for generations. To ensure Karrakatta continues to serve current and future generations of Western Australians, we must continue to make new spaces available.

Karrakatta was initially expected to be completely at capacity by 2004, after first being opened in 1899. Cemetery renewal at Karrakatta has enabled the sustainable and respectful creation of more than 9,000 graves and 30,000 memorial locations to serve the needs of Western Australia, with the renewal program operating for almost 30 years.  

Cemetery renewal has given Karrakatta a new lease on life and extended it towards another century of use.

Main entrance on Railway Road of Karrakatta Cemetery

Careful Planning and Consultation

Cemetery renewal is a robust, thorough and consultative program, seeking the input of all Western Australians as part of the process. We understand and honour the emotional connection attached to final resting places. We work with great respect to ensure families are consulted ahead of any renewal works.

Prior to any works, we consult with a committee comprised of historians, genealogists, architects and a representative of the Office of Australian War Graves. An extensive, 12-month community consultation is undertaken, which includes prominent signage, letters to registered families, advertising, and consideration of public submissions and requests.

We also take a comprehensive photographic record of the existing plot to ensure families have a lasting memory of the location and create a special Memorial Book for each renewed section.

All cemetery renewal practices are compliant with, or exceed, legislative requirements.

How things are changing

The MCB acknowledges the importance to families of marking the place of the original interment in sections that have undergone renewal, and consequently is implementing a new approach to Cemetery Renewal.

This new approach applies to renewal sections at Karrakatta Cemetery, including those already renewed, in the process of being renewed and scheduled to be renewed. The new approach seeks to:

  • Reinstate small monuments over original graves where possible.
  • Where reinstatement of a monument is not possible, original graves will be marked with a new plaque and monuments relocated as close as possible to the original grave.
  • Ensure monuments are protected/preserved in perpetuity from damage by placement in locations which limit risk of harm from cemetery operations.
  • Details of those interred without a monument or inscription on the grave will be acknowledged on a memorial plaque.

For already renewed sections, activities to reinstate monuments will begin in 2024, commencing with the most recently renewed sections and working backwards to older sections over the coming years. No monuments will be moved from their current location prior to consultation with families where known contact details are available.

The MCB is also working with the Office of Australian War Graves to identify any veteran interred in a section deemed for renewal at Karrakatta Cemetery who served with the Australian Defence Force in any of the wars, conflicts, and peace operations to which the nation has been committed.  The MCB will ensure these monuments are retained in situ and registered as veterans’ graves. 

Official War Grave Commemoration

The MCB acknowledges the sacrifices of Australian service personnel who served their nation in war to protect the freedoms we enjoy today and recognises the respect the community of Western Australia has for those service personnel who died in war or as a result of their war service.

The MCB has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) to specify activities between the MCB and OAWG in relation to Official War Grave Commemorations.

The MCB continues to work very closely with the OAWG to ensure that service personnels’ memory is honoured and that all Official War Graves are retained, as per the MoU.

A representative from OAWG is a standing member on the Monument Assessment and Advisory Committee.

To find more information about eligibility for official commemoration please visit OAWG.

Your Family Grave

Graves at Karrakatta that have a current grant are not impacted by cemetery renewal. If you are interested in renewing the grant for your family grave, please contact us on the details provided in the following section.

Purchasing a grant in a section scheduled for cemetery renewal can be undertaken up until the commencement of the 12-month consultation period. Family graves can however still be used for interments up until the completion of the 3-month consultation period, subject to a non-renewal fee.

Please refer to Submission Guide (PDF, 120KB) for assistance in making a submission.

We would like to hear from you

If you have an interest in a grave in a proposed renewal area or would like to know if a grave will be affected by cemetery renewal you can:

Please make sure you provide us with your details and keep your details up to date so that we can contact you if and when a grave of interest is approaching renewal.

You can also make enquiries about re-purchasing a Grant of Right of Burial for a family grave if the grant has expired, or talk to us about the Cemetery Renewal process and your options including how you can make a submission to retain a grave.

Cemetery Renewal Overlay Maps

The maps on this page are provided as a point of reference for research purposes and are indicative for the purposes of navigation. Technical drawings are utilised for operational cemetery purposes.  The maps show the historical and current geography within a section that has undergone cemetery renewal. Each map contains the following:

  • Grid of historical burial locations. Cemetery renewal does not disturb existing remains. These locations may have had a headstone on the grave or may have been unmarked graves.
  • Location of new graves in between the old graves, memorial gardens or site facilities.
  • Burial locations (with headstones) that have been retained in-situ.
     

Maps are available for download for personal use. Reproduction and republishing (including in digital form), is not permitted without permission of the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board. Printed copies can be requested over the counter at Karrakatta Cemetery. Printed copies of individual maps for the purposes of family research are provided free of charge to families. Bulk copies or requests for multiple maps (3+) will incur a research fee. A copy of the map and a Book of Remembrance listing all historical interments is physically located in each section. The location of the Book of Remembrance is marked on each map.

Anglican Area Overlay Maps

Brethren Area Overlay Maps

Chinese Area Overlay Map

Congregational Area Overlay Maps

General Area Overlay Map

Japanese Area Overlay Map

Roman Catholic Area Overlay Maps

Genealogy

Our Cemetery Records System holds records of interments, entombments, cremations and memorials dating back to 1899. It includes Karrakatta, Fremantle, Pinnaroo, Midland, Guildford and Rockingham cemeteries. The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board took over administration of Guildford and Midland cemeteries from the Shire of Swan in 1989. All available records have been included in our system however, it is believed that some records are not complete.

Search our Name Search Register for the record of a loved one.

Obtain an Historical Application

The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board is able to supply original Funeral Application Forms for records over 25 years old. (Note: This service may be limited for records relating to Fremantle Cemetery)

This service is used by genealogists and anyone wishing to research their family tree. The form contains information such as:

  • Last address of the deceased
  • Name of the funeral director
  • Date of the funeral
  • Date of death
  • Age of deceased
  • Name of the applicant for the funeral
  • Name of any clergy officiating.

To purchase a Funeral Application Form, complete the Funeral Application Form Request and email to mcb@mcb.wa.gov.au.

Purchase a Photograph

If you’re researching your family tree or simply want to complete your family photographic records, the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board can provide photos of the memorial or headstone of a loved one.

Photos are available in digital format or as standard-size photographic prints.

Photos of headstones taken prior to Cemetery Renewal are provided free of charge to family members.

Photos that require our staff to visit the grounds to acquire the image will incur a fee.

Each purchase of a photograph will include a shot of the entire gravesite and, if available, a close up of the headstone bearing the inscription requested.

Please note: there may not be a headstone on the grave you have requested. We will not know this until we visit the gravesite. For this reason the fee is not refundable if there is no headstone.

To purchase photographs complete the Photograph Request Form and email to mcb@mcb.wa.gov.au.

Further resources

In addition to the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board name search there are a number of excellent resources that may assist with Western Australian genealogy research.

State Library of Western Australia

Family History Guides

State Records Office of Western Australia

Family History Research and Archives

Registrar General’s Office

Website
Telephone: (08) 9264 1555

Office of Australian War Graves

Website

Australian War Memorial

Search for a Person

Search Honours and Awards

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Find War Dead

National Archives of Australia

Service Records

East Perth Cemetery

National Trust of Western Australia

East Perth Cemeteries

Telephone: (08) 9321 6088

Albany Cemetery Board

Website

Telephone: (08) 9844 7766

Bunbury Cemetery Board

Website
Telephone: (08) 9721 3191

Geraldton Cemetery

Telephone: (08) 9921 2707

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Cemetery Board

Telephone: (08) 9091 1693

Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc.

Website
Telephone: (08) 9271 4311


Other WA Cemeteries

WA cemeteries are generally administered by the Local Shire. The website of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries has links and contact details.

In addition, cemeteries which belong to the Cemeteries and Crematoria Association of WA (CCAWA) can be found on the CCAWA website.

Burials Outside Proclaimed Cemeteries

Detailed information and policy about burials on land outside of proclaimed cemeteries is available on the Department of Local Government website’s Cemeteries + Burials page.