Throughout the world, death and the rituals that surround it are steeped in taboos.

    Death is celebrated, embraced and feared.

    Around death and the dead, cultures put in place diverse restrictions and practices associated with clothing, food and ritual.

    These webpages explore what happens to us when we die and the different ways we deal with death.

    Death is certain, since it is inevitable, but also uncertain, since its diagnosis is sometimes fallible. Jacques-Benigne Winslow, Danish Anatomist: Morte incertae signa, 1740

    In Australia today, many people find being in the presence of death frightening and unwelcome. Death is often hidden, sanitised and orderly. The Australian Museum has developed this website to accompany an exhibition designed to help explore some of the taboos surrounding death and explain what happens to our bodies when we die.

    Death begins when the heart stops beating. Deprived of oxygen, a cascade of cellular death commences, beginning with brain cells and ending with skin cells. Death is a process rather than an event. Specifying the moment of death usually involves deciding on a point from which there can be no return.

    In most Australian states, the current law describes death as:

    'either irreversible cessation of circulation of blood in the body of the person or irreversible cessation of all function of the brain of the person'.

    While our current definition is based on extensive medical knowledge, history suggests that any definition is far from permanent.

    Signs of death


    What happens after death?

    Disposing of the dead

    Remembering the dead

    Virtual Autopsy

    Follow a human autopsy process from start to finish including an external examination, opening the body, viewing internal organs, removing the organs and weighing them, removing the brain, replacing all organs and closing the body.

    Play now

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    What are the taboos in Australia?
    There aren't many taboo subjects in Australia, although if you've just met someone, you might want to avoid topics like race, religion, politics and sex until you know them better. If you're looking for sure and safe conversation starters, try the weather or sports (especially football). more
    What is taboo in Australia?
    Taboo is an Australian comedy factual television series which premiered on Network 10 on 30 January 2018. The program is hosted by comedian Harley Breen, who tackles sensitive subjects and concludes with a comedy routine. more
    Is Coinbase Safe Australia?
    In Australia, Coinbase operates in compliance with laws such as KYC (Know Your Customer) and AUSTRAC Anti Money Laundering regulations. This means it should provide a safer trading experience when compared to some other global exchanges that aren't regulated in Australia. more
    What was Australia called before Australia?
    The official name for the country of Australia is the Commonwealth of Australia. The original names for Australia Australia included Terra Australis, New South Wales and New Holland. These old names were dropped in 1824. more
    Is Australia always hot?
    No, it is not always hot in Australia. The Australian weather patterns mean winters in the southern states can get chilly. The Australian climate varies dramatically depending on what part of the country you're in. Average temperatures in Australian cities are very different in, say, Hobart and Darwin. more
    Is Australia a NATO?
    NATO is a treaty-based organisation created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. Australia isn't a member, but an “enhanced opportunities partner”. more
    Where is Mossland Australia?
    Mosslands is a homestead in Western Australia. Mosslands is situated nearby to Jim Crow Gully, and west of St Johns Well. more
    Is Binance in Australia?
    Yes, Binance is available for Australian citizens and residents to open an account and begin trading. more
    Is Subway Halal Australia?
    Unfortunately no Subway store in Australia offers a certified Halal menu and they do not ask their suppliers to source Halal certified products. Subway Australia uses the leading national meat suppliers across Australia, the same ones that you see in major supermarkets. more
    What is taboo Japan?
    Taking Advantage of the Polite Japanese 'No' Standing on the Wrong Side of the Escalator. Improper Use of Chopsticks. Being Loud While Using the Public Transport System. Throwing Your Rubbish in the Wrong Bin. more
    Does Australia have hyena?
    Adelaide Zoo has welcomed two new Spotted Hyenas to its wild family, the first time the species has been at Adelaide Zoo in over forty years. more


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