CASE STUDY: Deeper insights, planning confidence and a new approach to communication.

Ellis Jones  •  Thursday February 28, 2013
Government  •  Health & Ageing


Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) is a community based, not-for-profit organisation, established by the Victorian Government to administer many of Melbourne’s most admired and historic cemetries, including Bunurong and Cheltenham Memorial Parks, Brighton General, Cheltenham Pioneer, Dandenong Community, Melbourne General, Springvale Botanical and St Kilda cemeteries.


Initially, Ellis Jones was commissioned to undertake qualitative and quantitative research into the perceptions and decisions of Italian Melburnians with regards to burial choice, particularly mausoleum. When this project neared completion, our researchers began work with the Chinese Buddhist community of Melbourne, to gain community feedback to the next stage of the beautiful Song He Yuan temple area at Springvale Memorial. In addition to the research brief, we were required to ensure language was not a barrier and did not create bias.

Most recently, our consultants undertook industry regulation, policy and stakeholder research, developing an approach to stakeholder engagement for the next stage of development at Bunurong, soon to become a cemetery of global significance.


It was the Ellis Jones Research as Engagement model that SMCT identified as ideal for the dual purpose of engaging communities and sourcing structured input on development plans.

Our researchers used a combination of in-depth stakeholder interviews, focus group testing and telephone surveying to source a comprehensive data set before analysis and presentation to the executive and board. 

“With new insight and valuable community relationships, SMCT has measured demand for million dollar investments and paved the way for pre-construction sales.”
– Jane Grover, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust


The Research as Engagement approach not only secured the required insight within the Trust’s budget constraints, it paved the way for future consultation and collaboration with important community stakeholders. 


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