Kiama Rane and Gerti Boo


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Amelia Grace and Miranda Kathleen
Dax Hugo and Willa Faith (Zaine, Harley)
Evelyn Zara and Callan Zac
Haven Willow and Coopa Jack (Indy, Hudson)

Alexis Kiahna (Kieran)
Amaya Mariah (James, Seth, Kayden)
Arnita (Chitrita)
Cassiopeia Belle
Edwina Lilian
Emerson Motoko
Enya Yan
Gerti Boo
Giovanna Riley
Kiama Rane
Liliana Ruth
Maleah Rei (Calandra, Elani)
Milly Breea
Penelope Frances
Phillipa Kate (Eliza)
Phoebe Elizabeth (Joshua, Hannah, Naomi, Zachary)
Radiya (Panav)
Samantha Cruz
Skye Beatrice
Tabitha Margaret (Maxwell)
Thea Rose (Eden)
Tiana Ida (Ariana)
Tilda Ollie
Zara Bonnie Joanne

Albie Jai (Myles, Flynn, Logan, Jonty)
Alistair Ronald
Carter Juris
Cavalier (Isabella)
Enoch Christopher
Gus Herbert (Max, Jim)
James David Huw
Jono Martin
Judah James (Bethany, Moriah)
Landon Daniel
Leighton Mark
Mack Fletcher (Taite, Jobe)
Maddison Gary Charlie
Miller Amado (Harlan)
Mitch Dixon Lee (Evie)
Ollie Louis (Joe, Eddie, Henry)
Rohan (Siddharth)
Stefan Angelo
Thomas McHugh
William Perry (Annabelle)
Xander Maxwell (Blake)
Ziek Ryder (Tait, Kurt)
Zixuan Tim

(Picture shows Lucy Vaseo, age 4, walking in the rain at the end of this summer in Kiama, NSW; photo from the Illawarra Mercury)


Thursday Throwback: Waltzing With … Autumn


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This post was originally published on March 20 2011, and almost entirely rewritten on March 26 2015.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox, ushering in my favourite season of the year. The searing heat of summer finally retreats, leaving us with a long stretch of sunny days with blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and invigorating fresh breezes, coupled with cool nights where we can finally turn off the fan and pull the covers over us for a deep, refreshing sleep at last.

After a blazing heatwave or a devastating cyclone season, the cool air of autumn comes as a relief. Following a dry summer, autumn rain can be a blessing. I love watching the leaves of the deciduous trees turn red and gold, the clear blue skies and mellow warm days followed by crisp doona-snuggling nights. And then later, the thick grey mists, sparkling frosts, and drifts of brown leaves brought down by the cold wind.

Not all of Australia experiences autumn, with the tropics having just a Wet Season and a Dry, and only a small portion of south-eastern Australia having the classic picture postcard four seasons.

Indigenous Australians had their own seasons, which differed from region to region, and which began and ended, not with a particular date on the calendar, but according to observations of the natural world. In the area which is now the Greater Sydney Basin, the Illawarra, and the Southern Highlands, the D’harawal people (who had seven seasons in all) marked the beginning of Marrai’gang around this time of year when the marrai’gang (quoll) began mating and the lilly-pilly fruit started to ripen on the trees.

Other countries may have more spectacular autumns than Australia, with more brilliant colours, but so often there is a melancholy that goes with it, a feeling that the natural world is winding down for the year, and corresponding brooding thoughts of our own mortality.

Here there is no tinge of sadness, and far from the woods bearing “bare ruined choirs”, our native trees almost never lose their leaves. Many native plants begin flowering in the autumn, so that the bush is filled with the bright colours of banksia, grevillea, and correa, as well as the purple lilly-pilly. Some species of bird migrate from the mountains to the coast during autumn, with flocks of thousands making an amazing sight. The loveliness of an Australian autumn is quiet and subtle.

While other seasons have their own beauty, they also seem to have their drawbacks. Winter – too cold! Summer – too hot! Spring – too changeable! Only autumn seems perfectly balanced, with the right amount of warm days and cool days, delightfully dry days and welcome wet days, each marching smoothly and evenly from the blues and golds of March, through the browns and yellows of April, to the greys and greens of May.

Name Information
The word autumn is from the French automne, taken from the Latin autumnus. This is derived from the Etruscan, relating to the passing of the year, ultimately from an ancient root meaning “cold”.

North Americans have two words for the season – autumn and fall. The reason is because the words autumn and fall both came into common use in the 16th and 17th centuries, and as English people began successfully migrating to North America in the early 17th century, they took both words with them. While the word fall for the season aptly fell out of use in Britain, it became the dominant word in the United States.

While autumn is from French, fall is from Old English, and refers to the falling of leaves, as well as the year falling away. It’s a word that makes a lot of linguistic sense, because it’s the exact opposite of spring in meaning (thus North Americans get the handy little mnemonic for the start and end of daylight saving time – spring forward and fall back an hour).

North Americans use autumn and fall interchangeably, and can do so even within the same sentence. However, although personal preference plays a part, in general they seem to use fall in a more practical way, while autumn is literary and formal. So children go back to school in the fall, but fashions come in autumn tones; TV networks bring out their fall schedules, but beloved grandfathers enter their autumn years. In other words, autumn is not just the word for the season, but a poetic or elegant description of the season.

The interesting thing is why there are two words for autumn anyway – it’s not as if winter and summer have other names. The truth is, autumn is a modern concept. In the medieval period, the year was divided into just two seasons, winter and summer. The time of year closest to what we call autumn was known as harvest, and it seems to have corresponded with late summer/early autumn.

By the 16th century, people had begun moving away from a rural way of life, and harvest was no longer an appropriate name for the time of year. I guess people felt awkward clattering up the cobbled streets of London, dodging carriages and chamber pots, telling each other that they would catch up next harvest. Both autumn and fall were tried out as descriptions of the transition from the heat of summer to the cold of winter, and by the 18th century they had both superseded the rustic word harvest. However, by the 19th, fall was no longer used in Britain, and it became seen as American usage only.

(This explains why fall never became part of the Australian vocabulary – as we weren’t settled by the British until the late 18th century, autumn was already the accepted word for the season. It would have been a very inappropriate name on this continent anyway, as there are few native trees here whose leaves fall in the autumn, or ever.)

So even though we might think of the season of autumn as ancient, timeless, and natural, it is in fact not just a modern construct, but a specifically urban one.

Knowing the history of the word autumn, it will not come as any surprise that use of Autumn as a personal name for girls is quite recent, dating back only to the 19th century. Nor will it seem at all strange that its use was in the beginning almost entirely North American, because on that continent autumn was not the standard word for the season, but one imbued with a certain archaic charm.

This trend continues, because in the US, Autumn has been in the Top 1000 since 1969, giving it a “hippie name” vibe. Currently it is in the Top 100 and gently rising, being #69 in 2011 and #65 in 2013. It is also a Top 100 name in some Canadian provinces.

In England/Wales, Autumn was in the 500s until Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips began dating a Canadian named Autumn Kelly in 2002, upon which the name Autumn began climbing in the UK, with a steeper ascent after Autumn and Peter’s wedding in 2008. After peaking at #179 in 2011, just after Autumn Phillips had given birth to her first child Savannah, the name has since levelled off and is now #197.

In Australia, the name Autumn is rarely found in historical records, and it has never charted here. In 2013, 3 baby girls were named Autumn in South Australia, in 2012, 9 baby girls were given the name Autumn in Victoria, and in Tasmania in 2010 there was only one baby called Autumn. The royal connection does not seem to have helped it here, as it has in the UK, and I only see it occasionally in Australian birth notices.

Autumn is a modern nature name for girls that is pretty without being frilly, and may appeal to some Australian parents by dint of being underused here. It celebrates a beautiful time of year, and could suit a child born in autumn, or with autumn-toned colouring. With Autumn, you get that attractive combination of a name that is completely “normal” and familiar, while not being at all common. That alone makes Autumn seem like a pretty awesome choice!

(Photo shows an autumn leaf in the Aurora Valley of Bangalow, New South Wales)

Celebrity Baby News: Asher Keddie and Vincent Fantauzzo




Actress Asher Keddie, and her husband, artist Vincent Fantauzzo, welcomed their first child together on March 1 and have named their son Valentino. Valentino is a brother for Vincent’s son Luca, from a previous relationship.

Asher has been on our television screens since the mid-1980s, first appearing in guest roles on various drama series. After roles in Blue Heelers and Stingers, her big break came in 2004, when she had a lead role in Love My Way, winning as Astra Award for best actress. More roles followed, including a part in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and taking the starring role in hit drama series Offspring in 2010, for which she won a Logie as Most Popular Actress. As well as playing Dr Nina Proudman on Offspring, she has portrayed both Blanche d’Alpulget in Hawke, and Ita Butrose in Paper Giants, helping her to win further awards, including two Gold Logies. Last year, Asher starred in Party Tricks, and she has also appeared in various theatre productions. Asher’s name has been featured on the blog.

Vincent is originally from the UK, and studied Fine Arts at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, where he is now an Adjunct Professor. Vincent has exhibited in Australia, New York, Los Angeles, India, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, and is a brand ambassador for Audi and laurent perrier. He often collaborates with film makers and works on creative projects with others. He won Peoples Choice Awards at the Archibalds with portraits of actors Heath Ledger and Brandon Walters in 2008 and 2009, and won the Archibald Packing Room Prize and the Doug Moran Portrait Prize for his painting of director Baz Luhrmann in 2011. His portrait of Asher Keddie, titled Love Face, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Archibald Prize, and his portrait of son Luca won the 2014 People’s Choice Award, making him the artist most often awarded the People’s Choice. He has also won a GQ Artist of the Year, and a Metro Art Award. Vincent and Asher began dating in 2012, after meeting through mutual friends, and were married in Fiji last year.

Famous Name: Aurora


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Name in the News
On March 17, a rare aurora australis was seen over New Zealand and Australia, swirling across the late night skies in patterns of red, green, blue, and purple. Aurora australis is also known as the Southern Lights, the southern hemisphere equivalent of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights.

An aurora event occurs when rapidly moving particles that originated from the sun come in and strike the upper atmosphere, more than 100 kilometres above the earth. The energy from the particles striking molecules in the atmosphere are released as light, and the colours that you see depend on which molecules are struck – green and red come from oxygen, while blue and purple are from nitrogen.

Aurora events sometimes happen when large solar flares and explosions of material come off the sun, which is what occurred this week, setting off a geomagnetic storm. An aurora australis is usually best viewed from Antarctica, but moderate ones can be seen from Tasmania. However, this week’s aurora was so bright that it was visible as far north as Canberra, and Goulburn and Kiama in New South Wales, while even in Brisbane there was a red tinge to the sky.

In Aboriginal mythology, the aurora australis was often seen as fire in the sky, and conjectured to be bushfires in the spirit world, campfires glowing in the land of the dead, or fires lit by evil spirits. It seems to have been generally seen as an ill omen, or a sign of a god’s displeasure. In south-west Queensland, where aurorae are uncommon and less spectacular, it was thought that the spirits were able to transmit messages through an aurora, allowing communication with the ancestors.

Rare, awe-inspiring, and staggeringly beautiful, an aurora is a celestial phenomenon not to be missed. Little wonder that in the past it was seen as something mysterious and otherworldly.

Name Information
Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn, and her name literally means “dawn, sunrise, daybreak”. She is the equivalent of the Greek goddess Eos, and the Hindu goddess Ushas. The name comes from an ancient root meaning “shining one”, and is related to the English word east, as well as the Latin aurum, meaning “gold”. It has connotations of springtime, and the new year – all symbols of rebirth and new beginnings.

In Roman mythology, Aurora renews herself each morning and flies across the sky to announce the arrival of the sun, her brother. She often appears in poetry (Virgil describes her as having a “saffron bed”), and her beauty and desirability are such an important part of her image that it is thought she must originally have been a goddess of love, with the different aspects of dawn and eroticism becoming separated into Aurora and Venus.

One of her key myths involves her love affair with a Trojan prince named Tithonus. Wanting to be with Tithonus for all eternity, she asked Jupiter to make him immortal. He granted her request, but because Aurora did not ask for him to remain eternally youthful, he was doomed to be old forever. Aurora saved him from this fate by turning him into a grasshopper.

Although you may read of the goddess Aurora in Tennyson and Shakespeare, see paintings of her, and even hear of her from Bjork, the name is probably best known from the 1959 Disney film Sleeping Beauty, where the comatose princess is called Aurora. In the movie, the king and queen choose the name because their daughter has “filled their lives with sunshine”.

In Charles Perrault’s version of the fairy tale, the Sleeping Beauty was not given a name, but she bears the Prince two children named L’Aurore (“the dawn”) and Le Jour (“the day”). Tchaikovsky’s ballet gives the daughter’s name to the mother, so the Sleeping Beauty is called Princess Aurora, and Disney followed this, as well as the TV series Once Upon a Time. (In the German version of the tale, she is called Briar Rose, which Disney used as Aurora’s code name, and in the earliest Italian one, Talia, who had children named Sun and Moon).

Aurora has been used as a name since the 17th century, and from the beginning was an international choice, showing up in records in England, Italy, and Scandinavia, and by the following century was used in countries all over the world, but especially in Europe.

Currently, Aurora is popular in Norway and most popular in Italy, where it is #3. In the United States, Aurora has been almost constantly on the Top 1000, and is now #145. It has been rising steadily since 1995 – the same year that Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was re-released in cinemas. In England/Wales, Aurora has been on the charts since 2011, and is rising steeply at #257. Amongst English-speaking countries, Aurora is most popular in New Zealand, where it has been Top 100 since 2013 and was #77 last year.

In Australia, Aurora is around the mid-100s, so has a similar popularity to that in the US. As it is rising in other countries, it is most likely rising here too. Around the world, Aurora is often given as a name in scientific contexts, and in Australia it is well known as an energy company. Aurora Point on Macquarie Island is named after the SY Aurora used on Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic expedition, with the yacht itself named after the aurora australis.

Aurora is an internationally recognised name with a poetic meaning and many attractive associations – an alluring dawn goddess, a sunshiney fairy tale princess, an iridiscent light in the heavens. It’s elegant and enchanting, rich and frothy, a name that seems to shimmer with colour, shot through with the rosy pink and gold of daybreak. One drawback is that it not particularly easy to say, which is why Auroras nearly always seem to have a nickname, such as Aura, Auri, Rora, Rory, Ro, or Roo, adding a cute or tomboyish option to a flouncingly feminine name.

(Picture is of Aurora australis seen over the Forth River in Tasmania; photo taken by Julie Head and published in The Advocate).

Celebrity Baby News: Manu Feildel and Clarissa Werasena




Celebrity chef Manu Feildel, and his fiancée Clarissa Werasena, welcomed their first child together on February 5, and have named their daughter Charlee Ariya. Charlee is a sister to Jonti, Manu’s son with his former partner, Veronica “Ronnie” Morshead.

Emnanuel, or “Manu”, was born in France, and learned to cook in London. After moving to Australia to 1999, he worked at a number of restaurants before becoming head chef at Bilson’s, which offered modern French cuisine and earned a three-hat rating. He began appearing on Ready Steady Cook in 2005, was on MasterChef in 2009, and became co-host of My Kitchen Rules in 2010, alongside fellow celebrity dad, Pete Evans. Manu opened his own French bistro in 2009, called Manu at L’Etoile, and after it closed in 2014, opened Le Grand Cirque with MasterChef judge and fellow celebrity dad, George Calombaris. Manu won the 2011 series of Dancing with the Stars, and has also hosted Dinner Date and his own cooking-travel documentary, called My France With Manu.

Clarissa is originally from Malaysia, and is a jewellery store manager. She and Manu met in a nightclub in 2010, and have been engaged since 2013.

Celebrity Baby News: Sporting Babies


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Champion jockey Tommy Berry, and his fiancée Sharni Nisbet, welcomed their first child in February, and named their son Kaiden Nathan [pictured]. Kaiden’s middle name is in honour of Tommy’s twin brother Nathan, who died last year from an acute form of epilepsy.

NRL star Johnathan Thurston, and his fiancée Samantha Lynch, welcomed their daughter Charlie Grace on March 16. Charlie joins big sister Frankie, who will be 2 this year; Frankie’s birth was featured on the blog. Johnathan is co-captain of the North Queensland Cowboys, and is the all-time scorer for the State of Origin series.

Rugby league footballer Nathan Peats, and his partner Jade, welcomed their first child on March 4, and named their son Leyton Winiata. Nathan started his career with South Sydney in 2011, and signed with the Parramatta Eels last year. He has also been named for the Indigenous All Stars, and City Origin. He is the son of Geordi Peats, who played for the Canterbury Bulldogs.


Celebrity Baby News: ALP Babies


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Labor MP Amanda Rishworth, and her husband Timothy Walker, recently welcomed their son Percy James [pictured]. Amanda has represented the seat of Kingston in Adelaide since 2007, which she turned around from the most marginal Labor seat in South Australia to the second safest. Last year she was promoted to the Opposition’s front bench when she was appointed Shadow Assistant Minister for Education. Before entering politics, Amanda was a clinical psychologist, and she has been a volunteer surf life saver since high school.

Labor MP Jim Chalmers, and his wife Laura, welcomed their son Leo James on March 13; Leo’s middle name seems to be after his dad. Jim has represented the seat of Rankin in Brisbane since 2013. He was formerly chief of staff to Wayne Swan when he was Treasurer, and was then Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre, a Labor Party think tank. Laura is a journalist, and a former press secretary for Julia Gillard and Penny Wong.

Havana Lily and Henley Violet


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Miles Geoffrey and Hugh Alexander

Airlie (Harlow, Hayes, Reave)
Asher Belle (Zahra, Macy, Chase)
Billie Rose
Camille Ingrid (Alice, James)
Elizabeth Cate (Victoria)
Grace Helena
Hargunpreet (Sargunpreet)
Harper Penny (Evie)
Harriette Mae
Havana Lily (Poppy, Amelie, Bebop)
Henley Violet
Iris Ruby (Archie, Olive)
Kayla Sage (Larni)
Leni Coral
Lydia Patricia Grace (Emma, Marcus)
Megan Narelle “Meg”
Nell Teresa
Olivia Margaret (Lachlan, Alexander)
Shayla Tigerlily
Sophie Dawn
Summer Mary
Tayla Elizabeth (Jay)
Violet Maria (Charlie, Ella)

Alexander Murray (Jackson)
Andreas Vass (Harry)
Billy Christopher
Caspar James
Chase Jordan
Finn Hudson (Milla, Noah)
Huw William Thomas (Jasper, Jude)
Jack Desmond
James Andrew (Ariella, Sylvie)
Jesse Benjamin Walter (Ethan, Jonty, Elijah, Arabella)
Joey Mitchell (Alice, Isabella)
Jude Maxwell
Kash Renzo
Lincoln Trent
Oliver Frederick (Brooklyn, Willow)
Quinn George
Richard Lewis (Thomas)
Roy Mackay (Sunny)
Rylan Hunter
Thomas Troy John
Toby Daniel
Valentino Vittorio (Alessandro)
Zayne George

Thank you to Brooke from Baby Name Pondering for her contributions from the Herald Sun 

(Photo shows the jetty at Henley Beach in Adelaide)

Friday Flashback: Boys Names From Songs


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This blog post was first published on March 13 2011, and heavily edited and updated on March 20 2015. Not being psychic, I did not know then of the vile crimes that Rolf Harris would be imprisoned for, otherwise he would not have been included.

Slim Dusty’s country song Duncan is one of his two hits which went to #1.The song describes the great enjoyment experienced drinking at the atmospheric Town and Country pub with his mate Duncan. Although the narrator also drinks with Colin, Kevin, Patrick, and Robert to obtain similar effects, it is Duncan who will always be remembered as the mate Slim would “love to have a beer with”. Duncan is the Anglicised form of the Gaelic name Donnchadh; it may mean either “brown-haired warrior”, or “brown-haired chieftain”. A traditional name amongst Scottish nobility and royalty, there have two medieval Scottish kings named Duncan, with Duncan I the original of William Shakespeare’s King Duncan in Macbeth. Unlike in the play, Duncan was a young king, and not assassinated by his war leader Macbeth, but killed in battle against him. Saint Duncan was of royal blood too, and an abbot of Iona. Duncan was #134 in the 1900s, and peaked in the 1970s at #122. It doesn’t seem to have charted since 2009, so this is a handsome underused Scottish choice.

Erasmus is a 2006 song by alternative rock band You Am I, a nostalgic remembrance of the 1990s. Erasmus is derived from the Greek for “beloved”. Saint Erasmus of Formia was a bishop who, according to tradition, was martyred for his faith in the 4th century. He is more commonly known as Saint Elmo, the old Italian form of his name, and St Elmo’s Fire is named after him – the glowing electrical discharge that can appear around tall, pointed structures during thunderstorms. As it was known for appearing around the masts of ships in the days of sail, Saint Erasmus is a patron of sailors. A famous namesake is Erasmus of Rotterdam, a Catholic priest, theologian, and classical scholar of the Renaissance who is known as “The Prince of Humanists”. Charles Darwin‘s grandfather was Erasmus, named after an ancestor, and Charles’ brother also had the same name. This rare name has geek chic, with history, strength, bags of brain power, and of course, a beautiful meaning. Rasmus and Raz could be used as nicknames.

Lazy Harry’s, or, The Road to Gundagai is a traditional folk song with a connection to Banjo Paterson, as he was the first to have it published, in 1905. The song tells of two shearers from a Riverina station who set out for Sydney to spend their pay cheques, but get no further than Lazy Harry’s pub between Wagga Wagga and Gundagai before they’ve spent the lot. Harry is a medieval English form of Henry which has never gone out of use. It has also been used as a pet form of Henry and Harold, and more recently, of Harrison. Harry is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #32 in the 1900s, left the Top 100 in the 1950s, and reached its lowest point in the 1970s at #234. It began rising in the 1980s after the birth of Prince Henry, always known by his nickname Harry, and joined the Top 100 in the early 1990s. It continued rising through the 2000s, along with the popularity of boy wizard Harry Potter, and peaked in 2010 at #27, although by 2013 it had only dropped one place, to #26. Classic Harry is royal and magical, yet also friendly and casual.

Henry Lee is Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’s 1996 version of an English folk song called Young Hunting, which in the United States is usually titled Love Henry or Henry Lee. It is a macabre tale of sexual jealousy; a man tells his mistress that he is leaving her for another woman, and while offering him a farewell kiss, she stabs him and throws his body in a well. P.J. Harvey sings the woman’s part of this eerie duet. Henry is from the Germanic nameHeimrich, meaning “home ruler”. It has been commonly used amongst European royalty, and there are many rulers of Germany, France, Spain and Portugal named Henry, or one of its equivalents. There have also been six Holy Roman Emperors named Henry, one of them a saint. Henry is a traditional name in the British royal family, and there have been eight English kings named Henry. Henry is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #11 in the 1900s, and left the Top 100 in the 1950s, hitting its lowest point in the 1970s at #265. It was back on the Top 100 by the 1990s, and had reached #23 by 2013. Henry is a handsome classic which is slowly rising in popularity.

Adam Harvey’s 2001 country song The House That Jack Built went to #1. It’s inspired by the nursery rhymes The House That Jack Built and Jack and Jill, while giving them a modern twist. Jack is a short form of Jackin, which began as Jankin, a medieval pet form of John. It has been used as an independent name since the Middle Ages, and was so popular in that era that it became a slang word to mean “man, male”. Jack is a fairytale hero, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer, and a trickster figure, like a jack-in-the-box and the knave in a deck of cards. Jack has a particularly British association, because of the Union Jack which is on our flag. Suffice to say I could talk about Jack until you were completely jack of it! Jack is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #24 in the 1900s, and left the Top 100 in the 1940s. It hit its lowest point in the 1960s at #277, and was Top 100 again by the 1980s. It hit its peak in the 2000s at #1 name, when there were many heroes on film and TV named Jack. By 2013 it had only fallen two places, to #3, so it has been extremely stable as well as extremely popular. Jack the lad is an everyman name, and a nickname with its own rich history.

Jake the Peg is a 1965 novelty song by Rolf Harris, based on the Dutch-Canadian song Ben van der Steen. It’s a simple tale of an unfortunate man born with three legs, and Harris performed it onstage with a theatrical prop which left the audience guessing as to which of the three legs was fake. It has been voted one of the best Australian singles of all time. Jake is a medieval variant of Jack, but today is often used as a short form of popular Jacob. Jake first joined the charts in the 1970s at #392, the same decade as Jacob, and just after the song’s release. It joined the Top 100 in the 1980s and peaked in the 1990s at #6. In 2013 it was #43. More boyish than Jacob, more rakish than Jack, this name lets you know that everything is “jake”.

Rick Springfield’s pop song Jessie Girl was an instant hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 of 1981, and winning a Grammy. According to Springfield,Jessie’s Girl was inspired by a real-life admiration he had for his friend Gary’s girlfriend. He considered using Gary’s real name, until he saw a girl wearing a softball jersey with the name Jessie on it. The song has been featured in movies and TV shows, and named one of the best songs of the 1980s. As a boy’s name, Jessie is a variant of the Hebrew name Jesse, which may mean “gift”. It’s also a girl’s name which was originally a Scottish pet form of Jean, but also used as a pet form of Jane, and more recently, of Jessica. In Australia, Jessie charted as a unisex name until the 1950s, but since the 1970s and the rise of Jessica, has only charted for girls. It made the Top 100 in the 1990s, when Jessica was the #1 name, and is currently in the 300s. Still usable for boys, although the popular Jessica has given it a pink vibe.

Men at Work’s 1982 rock song Be Good Johnny is an obvious reference to Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode. The song is about a young boy, a seemingly troubled daydreamer who can’t relate to or listen to adult authority. It could be the anthem for ADHD kids, and in fact a cover version of the song is the theme tune to the reality TV series Supernanny. Johnny is a pet form ofJohn, long used as an independent name. There’s been heaps of famous Johnnys in Australia – Johnny Diesel, Johnny O’Keefe, Johnny Young, Johnny Lewis and Johnny Warren, to name a few. Johnny has charted since the 1950s, when it debuted at #265. It has not yet become popular, and is currently in the 200s. Modern classic Johnny seems like it has a lot of potential to go further.

Rak Off Normie was written as a sequel to comedian Bob Hudson’s satirical narrative, The Newcastle Song, which was at #1 for four weeks in 1975. The Newcastle Song is about a young man called Normie looking for a date, and pokes fun at the working class youth culture in the city of Newcastle. Eager for further success, Bob Hudson rapidly penned Rak Off Normie from the point of view of the girl Normie is attracted to, and Maureen Elkner was chosen to sing it. The song reached #6 on the charts. Normie is a pet form of Norman, used as an independent name since the 19th century. It is well known in Australia from 1960s pop star Normie Rowe, and will probably only make a comeback if Norman does.

Olivia Newton-John’s Sam reached #1 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart of 1977. It’s a song about two people who have been (apparently deservedly) dumped by their respective lovers and are now lonely; the song implies that the two of them may get together in order to comfort each other. Sam can be used as a short form of names such as Samuel or Samson, and as short for the female name Samantha. It is also a Persian name meaning “very dark”, and is familiar from Frodo’s companion in The Lord of the Rings, whose name is short for Samwise (samwise is the Old English for “half-wise, half-wit”). Sam has long been used as an independent name, overwhelmingly given to boys. Sam first joined the charts in the 1950s at #301, and was Top 100 by 1986. It peaked at #62 in 1991, left the Top 100 in 2011, and is still only just outside the Top 100. Well known from Welsh children’s TV show Fireman Sam, which has an Australian rescue pilot in it, this is a modern classic with boyish charm.

Celebrity Baby News: Carrie Bickmore and Chris Walker




Television presenter Carrie Bickmore, and her partner Chris Walker, welcomed their first child together on March 18, and have named their daughter Evie. Evie is a sister for Carrie’s son Oliver, or “Ollie”, from her former husband Greg Lange, who died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer.

Carrie got her start in radio, and began working in television in 2006 on variety show Rove Live, in a segment called Carrie @ the News Desk. Since 2009, she has been a co-host on currents events show The Project, and has won a Logie Award for her work. Her husband Chris is a television producer.



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