There’s an old saying that necessity drives innovation.

For the Community Development Program (CDP) team at TRACQS, their innovation came from wanting to meet a community need through unfortunate circumstances.

With so many passings in the region – not to mention the financial burden on top of the grief – TRACQS decided to apply their resources and combined skills sets to fabricate coffins for local Indigenous families.

After extensive research and site visits to several funeral services, the team began crafting coffins to donate to families in need.

Since then, the creation of coffins as part of the CDP has seen four coffins donated to families in need, relieving part of the financial burden of burying loved ones.

Through consultation with family members, the team tailors each coffin specific to the personal needs of the individual, telling stories of art, tenderness, celebration, and grief to families in the community.

In order to deliver coffins to families in need, participants required an engineering certification prior to delivery. The team decided to approach a well-respected local engineer who was so impressed with TRACQS’ commitment to community families in need that he provided his services free of charge.

The fabrication of coffins combines two local activities – a Trade and Skills activity in Kowrowa which sees participants upskilled in precision carpentry, furniture making, and spray painting, along with a
Custom Culture activity in Kuranda which sees coffins individualised to meet family requirements.

In this step of the process, participants are upskilled in custom graphics, signwriting, plaque sublimation, pinstriping, airbrushing, computer laser and vinyl cutting.

Indeed, participants have developed a compassionate and inspiring reputation within the community, with one local funeral business requesting that TRACQS manufacture their coffins moving forward,
providing coffin accessories at cost-price to allow for additional customisation.

The project has also helped the TRACQS team normalise grief, viewing it as a healing, acknowledging process. Looking to the future, TRACQS will work closely with local funeral directors to individualise coffins with photos, Indigenous pinstriping, and totems to families seeking their service.

In turn, monies from sales will be paid to participants as Activity Generated Income (AGI).

After recent consultation with families in the community, the TRACQS team has commenced the crafting of crosses to display on unmarked Indigenous graves, with plans to purchase a computer laser and
router printer allowing the team to produce headstones from local Chillagoe marble.

The team at TRACQS is immensely proud of the efforts of its coffin makers and their ability to create a community-driven small business. We congratulate all participants on a meaningful activity that helps those in need within their community.

About the Community Development Program (CDP)

TRACQS is bringing local experience and knowledge to deliver the Community Development Program (CDP) proudly supported by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)

CDP is an employment program for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in regional, rural and remote Australia to achieve sustainable employment outcomes by strengthening skills, addressing barriers and contributing to their communities through a range of flexible work-like activities.