Doing Death Differently: 2nd Annual Death Literacy Conference

October 9, 10, 11 2015

Conference day - Saturday 10th.

Join The GroundSwell Project, the Natural Death Advocacy Network, and Mistress of Ceremonies Deathtalker® Molly Carlile AM for the 2nd Annual Death Literacy Conference. Habitat Uniting Church, 2 Minona St. Hawthorn in Victoria. 

The way we "do death" is changing. Australians are looking for more meaningful models of end of life care and they are looking to health and death care professionals to support these choices. 

Death literacy is the practical know-how needed to plan well for death. This conference brings to life the critical components of death literacy: skills, knowledge and the ability to take action and we are excited to be gathering some of Australia’s most experienced death practitioners to:

  • explore contemporary community based death practices in Australia
  • highlight the intersections between community practices, the health service and community cultural development
  • present the latest research and practice influenced by medical and public health sociologist, Allan Kellehear’s compassionate communities framework
  • promote creative and critical evaluation practices
  • celebrate the emerging new frontier of death literacy in our communities

Who is this conference for?

  • Anyone with an interest in social approaches to death, dying and bereavement.
  • Those with an interest in community development and capacity building approaches to end of life and death care.
  • Death workers and doulas, midwives for the dying.
  • Funeral celebrants and funeral directors.
  • Nurses and palliative care professionals / aged care workers.
  • End of life researchers and academics.
  • Pracademics.
  • Health promoting palliative care workers / community development workers.
  • All those working for social change.


The conference event takes place over 3 days and you can purchase tickets for the full event, or separate days. 

Full conference registration gives you access to the 3 day Death Literacy Event. This includes the NDAN launch event Friday night, Doing Death Differently on Saturday and Come to my funeral on Sunday.

Full Conference registration is $300 / $250 for NDAN and Dying To Know Day event holders

Venue: Augustine Hall, Habitat Uniting Church

2 Minona St Hawthorn VIC 3122


Day 1: Friday night October 9: Natural Death Advocacy Network launch

Over canapés and Friday night drinks join us for a robust Q&A session about the changing landscape of death in Australia. The executive of the Natural Death Advocacy Network; Dr. Pia Interlandi, Dr. Peter Cock, Sally Cant, and Libby Moloney, will get things started by talking about the role of advocacy from everyday people to government policy.

The discussion will then be opened to include the audience so that we can tease out some of the issues affecting our industry!

NDAN is as much about advocacy as it is about creating networks – so come along and connect with others in the field! Now is the chance -with so many of us connected via social media Friday night will be a time to meet each other face to face, firm up those lasting personal and professional connections and really get to know what each other is about! 

Special guest Jazz musician Kimba Griffith will be performing on the night. 

Cost: $55 / $40 (Dying to Know Day event holders/NDAN Members)

Time: 6:30-9:30pm

Venue: Augustine Hall, Habitat Uniting Church

2 Minona St Hawthorn VIC 3122



Day 2: Saturday October 10: Doing Death Differently


Time: 9 to 5

Venue: Habitat – The Augustine Centre

Tickets: Tickets limited to 150

Cost: $185 / $145 (Dying to Know Day event holders/NDAN Members)

Speakers: Molly Carlile AM, Kerrie Noonan, Pia Interlandi, Victoria Spence, Sally Cant, Libby Maloney, Sharon King, Kim Schneiders, Zenith Virago and Associate Prof. Debbie Horsfall. 


  • How do we "do death differently"
  • Caring for the dying person at home
  • Home death and burial/funerals from home
  • How can community based practitioners and health services work together?
  • Supporting family-led rituals and care
  • Social Action Marketplace - 20 speakers from across Australia!


Venue: Augustine Hall, Habitat Uniting Church

2 Minona St Hawthorn VIC 3122


Day 3: Sunday October 11: Come to my Funeral

Putting our talk into practice, this day will focus on the journey from dying, through death, home based death care, and funeral ceremony (and of course to finish the conference there will be a wake!)

Through practical demonstrations and the enacting of the entire deathing process you will see our practitioners do what they do best and together seamlessly link the end of life cycle. With death doulas, shrouding, eco-coffins, family lead ceremony, through to hand lowering of the (not so dead in this instance) body into the earth, you will be able to see some of the best offerings that are available for your own end of life.

Time: 9-12pm

Venue: Alexander Room, Habitat Uniting Church


Our Speakers and performers

Molly Carlile AM

Molly Carlile AM is a multi-award winning palliative care activist, author and international speaker. Known as the Deathtalker, she supports people to become informed about death and grief in order to live life fully.

Molly is national ambassador for Dying to Know Day (August 8th), a day dedicated to improving death literacy.




Kerrie Noonan

Kerrie Noonan is the cofounder and director of The GroundSwell Project, a social researcher and a clinical psychologist in palliative care. Kerrie has a long-standing interest in capacity building approaches to death, dying and bereavement, palliative care and how people can build their death literacy.

Kerrie is currently a PhD Candidate at Western Sydney University and a member of the International Council for Public Health and Palliative Care.



Dr. Pia Interlandi

Pia is a fashion designer, funeral celebrant and death practitioner who creates meaningful rituals around the dressing and care of the deceased.

Pia began her journey into the funeral industry through somewhat winding paths having initially gained degree in fashion design. She often incorporated death as a scientific and psychological concept for exploring life’s transient qualities and while this was the instigator for her PhD studies at RMIT, it was when she dressed her grandfather for his funeral in 2008 that she became interested in the realities of death and became a qualified funeral celebrant.

Involving rigorous immersion in the rituals associated with preparing the body for interment she started her current practice Garments for the Grave in 2012 where she now designs custom made bio-degradable burial shrouds and performs dressings with the family of the dead. This practice has been the launch pad from which to discuss broader issues around our cultural relationship with death. She regularly gives lectures and runs workshops, receiving praise both nationally and internationally. In 2013 she was nominated for ‘The Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death’ at Good Funeral Awards in the UK.

She was a core member of the team Clandon Wood Natural Burial Reserve for 18 months where she gained an understanding of the fundamentals of Natural Burial so that she could bring them back to her home in Melbourne.

She now balances her practice with regular teaching into RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles and is delighted to launch the Natural Death Advocacy Network.


Kate Holmes

Kate Holmes is a palliative care nurse consultant currently working in a busy public hospital in Melbourne. She has been a nurse for longer than she cares to remember and has been working in palliative care for nearly twenty years. Most of that experience was gained in the UK but she has been working in Australia for almost six years now.

Palliative care nursing is her vocation but end of life care is her passion.

She feels that it is an honour and a privilege to be invited into a families experience at this stage of their lives.


Victoria Spence

Victoria Spence is a Life Rites practitioner creating literacy and capacity in individuals, families and communities as they approach the key events of their lives. She works with the full range of life events, from birth through to death.  Since 2002 years she has developed the practice of Integrating End of Life and After Death Care, working with her clients as they move through the transitions between the medical model and allied health professions, the funeral industry and  into ongoing Bereavement Care.

She holds a Masters in Death, Dying and Palliate Care from the University of Sydney (2005), a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Performance and Community Development from the UNSW (1995) She is a qualified Funeral Celebrant and Bereavement Counselor. Her ‘Mortality Talking’ events and seminars offer participatory opportunities for people to know what is important to them at end of life.

In 2010 she established the Living with Our Dead platform to create Public Site Specific Ceremony resulting in the annual ‘Picnic Among Friends’ and other community ceremonies that re-inscribe death and loss as a necessary and vital part of life. See

More information on the full range of her practice can be found at and


Libby Moloney

Libby Moloney, of Natural Grace, is a holistic funeral director practising natural, culturally and spiritually sensitive, family led funeral care, specialising in home based care. Libby is also a member of a newly established not-for-profit group, which consists of multi discipline professionals who are passionately committed to supporting families who wish to care for their dead at home. This group consists of a GP, a palliative nurse, a Naturopath, a spiritual leader, allied therapies such as massage and touch therapists, a Threshold Choir and Libby as an holistic funeral director. Furthermore, Libby is a State Board representative of the Independent Funerals Directors Association of Victoria and has the full support of the national body to represent the IFDAA. Libby, through Natural Grace is passionately committed to raising awareness about natural cemeteries in Australia and works actively with community groups to establish natural sanctuaries for the interment of our dead. This is also a not-for-profit commitment. Family led home-based funeral care is legal, possible and very beautiful. There are services available for those seeking support for their rightful choice.

Sally Cant

Sally Cant is the owner of The Celebrants Training College, a well known celebrant, mentor and trainer and assessor of celebrants both here in Australia and overseas. She is the author of two books: ‘The Heart and Soul of Celebrancy’ which has sold over 5000 books into seven countries and ‘Conversations about death’ due for release very soon. Sally a highly sought after trainer and presenter speaks about many topics and is passionate about creating ceremonies that are both personal and authentic. She is a board member of MAREAA – Marriage and Relationship Educators Assoc of Australia, an inaugural member of the Funeral Industry Ministerial Advisory Council and a committee member of number of other organisations and associations; she is a Corporate MC and public speaker.


Sharon King


Sharon started with TAHPC as Project Officer North in March of 2015. She has a number of years’ experience in community development and is also a qualified Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD). Sharon has a Masters in Dietetics a Graduate Diploma in Human Nutrition both from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in health promotion and lifestyle from the University of Tasmania.

Sharon has a thorough understanding of health issues within the region and has a passion for strengthening community capacity. Sharon enjoys the challenges and variety of being a dietitian and Project Officer and finds these roles broaden her insight for all aspects and the importance of overall health and well-being.

In her spare time Sharon enjoys hiking and exploring Tasmania’s wilderness and relaxing with a good book.


Kim Schneiders

Kim Schneiders is an arts practitioner and teacher in Launceston, Tasmania.  A dynamic member of the community she is Founding Director of Interweave Arts, Co-ordinator of Access Arts Link and heads the Visual Arts department at Lilydale District School.   Kim's artistic premise is based on the firm belief that art has the power to effect positive personal and cultural change in the communities we live and work.  

In 1998 she founded Interweave Arts with a focus on community, education, culture and environment.   Interweave programs  include Access Arts Link, an arts mentoring program for people with disability,  Remade, a wearable art show promoting environmental sustainability and Streets Alive, which brings art from schools and studios to the public spaces of Tasmania in arts events, festivals and public arts trails.

In 2015 Kim and the Interweave Arts artists worked with local schools and community groups on a project called Good Grief funded by TAHPC which engaged community in alternative ways to respond to death, dying and bereavement.   A creative outcome of this project included an installation made by project participants which exhibited at the Palliative Care Forum in May in Tasmania.  This artwork has continued to grow and evolve and features at this year's Death Literacy Conference in Melbourne where Kim will talk about the role of art as a tool for social change.

Art at its most powerful, initiates conversations, stimulates debate and gets people thinking.  Interweave aims to present community art projects which contribute to the current shift in modern western cultures from mourning death to celebrating life past and present.



As the local Deathwalker, Zenith is a respected pioneer & acknowledged expert in the fields of holistic death and dying, and funerals that are transformational rites of passage.  With over 20 years experience, she provides comfort, information and guidance to assist us through the natural and the sacred, the inner and outer journeying as we come to the end of our life. With a lightness of being, compassion and integrity she accompanies many people and those that love them, through our final and ultimate experience. 

Her enthusiastic and empowering approach allow for a richer exploration, whilst assisting people to reclaim their rights and their rites of passage. Zenith lives in Byron Bay, celebrating life and death, seeing her work as a privilege and an important part of her life's journey, it gives her a deep love and gratitude for the wonderful mystery of which we are all a part. Zenith is also the EO and founding member of the non-profit Natural Death Care Centre, co author of The Intimacy of Death and Dying, and subject ofthe international documentary, Zen & the Art of Dying.


Kimba Griffith

Kimba Griffith is a jazz musician, celebrant and ‘deathwalker’ with a special interest in bringing death, dying and death care back to families and communities. Musically her trademark sound is one of light-footed swinging vocals, finely enunciated lyrics and a gift for finding the heart of the song. 

Equally passionate about jazz music and community education around end-of-life planning, Kimba is proud to offer a backdrop of swingin' jazz sounds in her acclaimed guitar/vocal format to celebrate the launch of the Natural Death Advocacy Network.