Central Coast Council has helped to unlock an important part of its area’s history by making its cemeteries’ burial records available online via their new Everafter public portal.
Responsible for the sixth largest urban area in Australia, New South Wales’ Central Coast Council operates five operational and six historic cemeteries, including those located at Jilliby, Noraville and Yarramalong.
Having been supporting families in the area for generations, its cemeteries provide the final resting place for many of the area’s pioneering families.
As custodians of a rich history that they are keen to preserve, the initiative to implement a public search portal was part of a broader digital transformation project.
The council embarked on the implementation of a new cemetery management system as a recommendation of the Capacity Study and Cemeteries Business Strategy and a key strategic action in the Cemeteries Business Plan for 2020-21.
The project saw two existing legacy IT systems replaced by PlotBox’s single, cloud-based solution - integrating essential cemetery functions and streamlining processes, aiding Bereavement Officers in providing families with information and assistance on burial bookings, ash interments, and organising memorial placements.
Key to the project was digitally mapping several of the council’s cemeteries using PlotBox’s high resolution drone imagery. Linking the cemeteries’ deceased records to exact plot locations on these digital maps not only provided the council with a range of day-to-day operational efficiencies, but created an opportunity for them to provide a valuable public service.
Via their online Everafter website, families and members of the public can now perform a quick and easy search of Central Coast Council’s cemetery records, with useful information, including headstone photographs, displayed alongside grave locations, clearly visualised on digital maps.
Deceased records across eight of the council operated cemeteries can be searched using just a surname, with Everafter providing the ability to refine and filter searches using criteria such as deceased date or estimated age at time of death.
This provides a number of benefits for both the community and the council and making the wealth of knowledge and history contained within their records has opened up a valuable resource.
Those who live far from the cemetery, or are unable to attend in person, can now search for and view the locations of their loved ones, no matter where they are. In uploading photographs of headstones, they are also provided with a personal view of the site that may have been previously un-afforded to them.
Everafter also allows us for a more streamlined experience for families when attending cemeteries in person. Locating the graves of loved ones isn’t always easy, especially in larger, or older cemeteries, but now family members can either look up the location of their loved one before visiting, or when on site, can be guided by staff using Everafter’s ‘walk to grave’ app via a tablet device.
This saves both time for the team, in not having to refer back and forth to the office, and time for visitors in finding the grave site.
Making their records public also provides a very useful genealogical research tool. Those interested in tracing the area’s history can search for persons of interest who are buried within the cemeteries, and similarly, those wanting to trace their own family tree can do the same - using the information provided to help paint a complete picture.
PlotBox General APAC, Martin Jackson said,
“We are delighted that PlotBox is able to help Central Coast Council to connect its community with both its past and present, and by protecting its cemeteries’ valuable legacy, preserve its future.”
Learn how you can help to connect your community to their loved ones and open up new opportunities for your cemetery: