Inside the Collection

Death in the Museum part 3: ashes to ashes

Part 3 in a series (click here for part one, and part two)
Annette Kellerman cremation casket
Collection, Powerhouse Museum

I have been pretty inspired by recent research done by Einar Docker on Annette Kellerman here at the Museum and I was amazed to find that we have this casket in our collection.

This little box housed the famous Annette Kellerman’s ashes after she was cremated. Her ashes were then scattered on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, a fitting resting place for the ‘Australian Mermaid’.

Black and white image of Annette Kellerman in mermaid costume
Image courtesy of The Story of Swimwear

 The Story of Swimwear

It is now part of the Annette Kellerman collection we hold at the Museum.

This got me thinking of what people actually do with a loved ones ashes? One of the comments, from part one of this blog series, alerted me to an innovative solution, have them turned into a unique diamond! (Saves years of dusting that urn on the shelf)

Or if you prefer a flashier way to go you can make ashes into fireworks!

Or mixed into paint to create an artwork

Or made into an actual coral reef!

Or you can send them into space

Carbon copies box by Nardine Jarvis
Designed by Nardine Jarvis, © all rights reserved, Image source:

My absolute favourite would have to be this one:

You can be made into pencils! This box allows you to retrieve one pencil at a time, you sharpen the pencil shavings back into the box so when all the pencils are used up you are left with an urn. Who would have thought the human body could create enough ash for 240 pencils?

So what about you, would you wear a diamond ring made from nanna’s ashes? Would you want your ashes to go up in a blaze of glorious fireworks?

Needless to say I am pretty amazed there are so many options to create keepsakes out of cremated remains. (and a little creeped out!)

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