Names of Australian Prime Ministers’ Wives


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It is Australia Day tomorrow, and for our patriotic lists, I thought it must be about time to have names of our prime ministers and their spouses. Ladies first!

Antonia Watson (nee Dowlan) was the second wife of Chris Watson; she was a 23 year old waitress and he was 58. Antonia is the feminine form of the Roman family name Antonius. The Antonia was a very old family who claimed descent from Anton, a son of Hercules – Anton seems to have been invented, and the name may be Etruscan in origin. The most famous of the Antonii was Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), made famous by Shakespeare’s play Antony and Cleopatra. Mark Antony’s first wife was his cousin Antonia, and he had three daughters, all named Antonia. The youngest Antonia was famed for her beauty and virtue, and became the mother of the Emperor Claudius, and grandmother of Caligula. There is a Saint Antonia who seems to be Saint Theodora under another name, and the name has been used amongst continental royalty – it was a middle name of Maria Antonia, otherwise known as Marie Antoinette. Antonia has charted since the 1950s, when it debuted at #346, and it peaked in the early 2000s at #279. Currently it is around the 400s, so this elegant name is an underused modern classic.

Lady Bettina Gorton (nee Brown) was the wife of John Gorton. Bettina was an American student at the Sorbonne who met John while on holiday in Spain; he was a student at Oxford. After marrying in England, they moved to his family’s farm in Australia, and Bettina supported her husband in his political career. On an official visit to Sarawak, Bettina became interested in Asian languages and culture; she later graduated with honours in Oriental Studies from ANU and worked on the English-Malay dictionary. When John became prime minister, her knowledge of South East Asian languages made her a great asset when travelling overseas, and she established a native garden at The Lodge which is named in her honour. The name Bettina can have two possible origins. If German, it is a pet form of Elisabeth, while if Italian, it is a pet form of Benedetta, the feminine form of Benedetto, the Italian form of Benedict. One of the world’s first supermodels was Simone Bodin, who worked under the professional name “Bettina” in the 1940s and ’50s. The French model gave the name Bettina a little boost in the postwar era, but it’s never been common.

(Josephine) Blanche d’Alpuget is the second wife of Bob Hawke; she was named after her great-aunt Blanche d’Alpuget, a pioneering journalist. Blanche lived in South East Asia for several years, and after returning to Australia, began writing about her experiences, winning a number of literary awards for both fiction and non-fiction. She later became Bob Hawke’s biographer: his wife tolerated their open relationship for many years, and after retiring from politics he divorced to marry Blanche. Blanche was originally an Old French nickname meaning “white”, to suggest “pure”. The name became common in the Middle Ages, perhaps because very fair skin was considered beautiful and aristocratic. It was popularised by Blanche of Navarre, who had a French mother; as she became Queen of Castile, the name was traditional in her royal family. A famous namesake is Blanche of Lancaster, the mother of King Henry IV, said to be pretty and fair. Blanche was #125 in the 1900s, and left the charts in the 1940s. This is a vintage name which works well in the middle; it might remind you of The Golden Girls or A Streetcar Named Desire.

Ethel Bruce (nee Anderson) was the wife of Stanley Bruce. She and Stanley were a devoted couple, and the first to live at The Lodge. Ethel is a short form of names starting with Ethel-, such as Ethelinde. The Old English word ethel meant “noble”, and it was a common name element in royal and aristocratic names. The Victorians were mad keen on Anglo-Saxon names, and began using Ethel as a name in its own right; usually for girls, but occasionally for boys, as there were plenty of male names starting with Ethel-, such as Ethelred. The name was popularised by two 1850s novel – The Newcombes, by W.M. Thackery and The Daisy Chain by C.M. Yonge. Ethel was #14 in the 1900s, and left the top 100 in the 1940s before dropping off the charts in the 1960s. It recently became a celebrity baby name, when pop singer Lily Allen named her first child Ethel, and would appeal to someone looking for an old-fashioned alernative to the current crop of fashionable E names, such as Esther and Eloise.

Ilma Fadden (nee Thornber) was the wife of Arthur Fadden. Ilma was a supportive political wife who campaigned for her husband and accompanied him on official visits overseas. The name Ilma can be a short form of Wilhelmina, as well as a Finnish name meaning “air”; I have also seen it listed as a Hungarian form of Amelia. I suspect that in everyday usage, it was often given as a variant of Elma – a name of obscure origin, possibly sometimes created from other names, such as Elizabeth and Mary. Ilma was #176 in the 1900s, and fell until it left the charts in the 1940s – it was a minor trend of the early twentieth century and almost a twin in popularity of Elma. Now this vintage name seems like an interesting multicultural choice not much different to Isla and Emma.

Lady Jean Page (nee Thomas) was the second wife of Earle Page, and originally his secretary. Like Joan and Jane, Jean is a medieval form of the Old French name Jehanne, introduced by the Normans, and a popular choice in both England and Scotland during the Middle Ages. In England, Jean was eventually surpassed in popularity by Jane, but continued being used in Scotland. In the 19th century, the name was re-introduced back to England, where it now seemed a Scottish name choice. Jean is also a man’s name, the French form of Old French Jehan, and thus the French equivalent of John. Jean first charted in Australia as a unisex name, peaking in the 1910s and ’20s (in the Top 50 if most of the Jeans were girls). In the 1950s, Jean joined the charts as a specifically feminine name, where it peaked at #140, and left the charts altogether in the 1990s. Never popular in the postwar era, it remains very well used as a middle name.

Margaret Whitlam (nee Dovey) was the wife of Gough Whitlam. A former champion swimmer, Margaret was a social worker who seemed the perfect match for her husband, and the couple were deeply in love. Margaret was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, a regular guest on radio and television, and a columnist for Woman’s Day. She died just two years before her husband, acknowledged as one of Australia’s National Treasures. Margaret is derived from the Greek for “pearl”. The name came into common use because of Saint Margaret of Antioch, a legendary saint who was tortured for her faith. She was supposedly swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon but escaped unharmed, which made her enormously popular. Margaret has been used by European royalty since medieval times. Queen Margaret of Scotland was an Englishwoman married to Malcolm III canonised as a saint: the name has particularly strong associations with Scotland. Princess Margaret was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth; her grandfather was a Scottish peer. Margaret is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #6 in the 1900s, and the #1 name of the 1930s and ’40s. It left the Top 100 in the 1980s, and is currently in the 400s, where it has remained fairly stable for decades. An intelligent, dignified classic with tons of nicknames, including Daisy, Greta, Maggie, Maisie, Margot, Meg, Meta, Peggy, and Rita.

(Elizabeth) Martha “Pattie” Deakin (nee Browne) was the wife of Alfred Deakin. Alfred was a lifelong spiritualist, and Pattie shared his faith; their marriage was long and happy. Martha is the Latin form of the Aramaic name Marta, meaning “lady, mistress”. In the New Testament, Martha was the sister of Lazarus and Mary of Bethany. Many remember the story when Martha was busy in the kitchen cooking for the disciples, while her sister Mary sat listening to Jesus. Worried and distracted, Martha asked Jesus to rebuke her sister for not helping her, but Jesus said that Mary had chosen the better path (tough advice for those who wear themselves out working for others). Practical and caring, Saint Martha is a role model for those seeking an active helping role in the spiritual life. Martha was #92 in the 1900s, and left the Top 100 the following decade, dropping off the charts briefly in the 1940s, and again in the 1990s. It had a minor comeback in the late 2000s, and is already a Top 100 name in the UK, and climbing. A strong, capable, and attractive name which has never been very popular.

Lady Sonia McMahon (nee Hopkins) was the wife of William McMahon. The grand-daughter of one of Australia’s wealthiest men, she was an occupational therapist before her marriage. Glamorous and charming, Sonia made international headlines when she wore a revealing dress to a dinner at the White House, showing more leg than was usual. Sonia is a variant of Sonya, Russian pet form of the name Sophia, from the Greek for “wisdom”; Sonja is another common variant. Sonia is also an Indian name, meaning “golden” in Hindi. The name was popularised in the English speaking world through a 1917 best-selling novel called Sonia: Between Two Worlds by Stephen McKenna. The title character is an upper class English girl with big brown eyes and a face like a Sistine Madonna. Sonia first entered the charts in the 1920s, debuting at #309. It entered the Top 100 in 1967, around the time Sonia McMahon came into the public eye, and peaked in 1971 at #52 – the year she wore “that dress”. Leaving the Top 100 in the 1980s, it hasn’t charted since the early 2000s, having been well and truly taken over by popular Sophia.

Tamara “Tamie” Fraser (nee Beggs) is the wife of Malcolm Fraser. Ambivalent about being in the public eye, she proved an excellent political campaigner, and was the first prime ministerial wife to employ her own secretary; Tamie also oversaw extensive renovations in The Lodge. She continues to be active in community affairs. Tamara is the Russian form of Tamar, a Hebrew name meaning “date palm”. The name became better known in the English speaking world because of Russian ballerina Tamara Karsavina, who moved to London as a ballet teacher in the 1930s. Tamara first joined the charts in the 1950s, debuting at #522. Its rise in the 1950s seems to be as a formal option for the name Tammy, which became popular because of a Debbie Reynolds romantic comedy called Tammy and the Bachelor: the song Tammy from the film became a smash hit. Tamara joined the Top 100 in 1975, when Tamie Fraser came into the public eye, and peaked in 1989 at #56, leaving the Top 100 in the early 2000s. Currently it is around the 300s, and shows some signs of a slight recovery.

(Photo shows Sonia McMahon in the entrance hall of The Lodge, 1971)

Rosalie Aurora and Zoe Coral


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Alice Juliana and Elliot John (Harrison, Mia, Lachlan, Poppy)
Louis Arthur and Flossy Lena Dot (Sid)
Skylar and Rhainer (Navaro)

Adelaide Joan
Amity Faith Anne
Caitlin Gertie
Cassandra Joy (Jayden)
Farrah Mae
Frankie Laine (Katy, Tommy)
Georgia Wynne (Hannah May)
Gigi Louise (Peggy)
Gypsy (Memphis)
Iseult Joni (Fisher)
Jayda Maurine Joyce (Jordan, Jaxon, Jamila)
Leni Bessie (Ilish)
Lila Poppy
Lusiana Rokoloma
Millie Claudine
Misheeta Nijushi (Moumita, Mondira)
Monique Elizabeth (Genevieve)
Patience Rae
Polly Martha
Rosalie Aurora
Thea Rose (Eden)
Tiffany Jane
Vezna (Vasko)
Zoe Coral (Joseph)

Abel Thomas
Archibald Stirling (Millie)
Arthur Roy
Augie James (Lola)
Duncan Joseph
Ezra Blake
Grayson McIvor Danien
Henri David William (Digby, Payden, Rory, Millie, Alex, Charlie)
Jett Zacob
Jonas Eric (Hanya)
Laurie Forrest (Harry, Ralph)
Lenny Charles (Nash)
Luca Bernard
Marley Toren Sage (Ruby)
McLeod Fletcher Morris
Miller Jae (Oakley, Calais)
Noel Louis Peter (Isaac)
Owen Linton
Reeve Nathaniel (Claudia)
Rowan Kenneth
Sebastian Gage
Take John Patrick
Vaughn Michael (Eveleigh)
Yuew Kuol (Akon, Achol)
Zarak Khan (Sophia)

(Photo of sunrise over Long Reef, Sydney by Glenn Crouch)

Top 50 Baby Names in Western Australia for 2014




  1. Emily
  2. Ava
  3. Charlotte
  4. Olivia
  5. Amelia and Mia
  6. Ella
  7. Isla
  8. Sophie
  9. Chloe
  10. Grace
  11. Isabella
  12. Ruby
  13. Zoe
  14. Lily and Lucy
  15. Harper
  16. Sophia
  17. Sienna
  18. Hannah and Zara
  19. Emma, Evie, Ivy and Scarlett
  20. Georgia
  21. Matilda
  22. Eva and Layla
  23. Imogen
  24. Willow
  25. Abigail
  26. Alexis
  27. Evelyn and Summer
  28. Jasmine
  29. Isabelle
  30. Madison and Mila
  31. Lilly and Savannah
  32. Paige
  33. Jessica and Maddison
  34. Holly
  35. Aria
  36. Violet
  37. Sofia
  38. Alyssa
  39. Sarah and Stella
  40. Annabelle, Ellie and Poppy
  41. Mackenzie
  42. Alice, Elizabeth and Phoebe
  43. Addison and Audrey
  44. Anna
  45. Charlie and Maya
  46. Elsie and Hayley
  47. Lola
  48. Bella and Rose
  49. Amber and Indi
  50. Amelie and Peyton

  1. Oliver
  2. Jack
  3. Noah
  4. Wiliam
  5. Lucas
  6. Thomas
  7. James
  8. Ethan
  9. Liam
  10. Jacob
  11. Mason
  12. Lachlan
  13. Samuel
  14. Charlie
  15. Alexander and Joshua
  16. Harrison
  17. Logan
  18. Cooper
  19. Riley
  20. Hunter and Levi
  21. Jaxon and Max
  22. Henry
  23. Isaac
  24. Benjamin
  25. Harry
  26. Hudson
  27. Nate, Tyler, Xavier
  28. Daniel
  29. Jayden
  30. Blake and Elijah
  31. Archie and Oscar
  32. Dylan
  33. Kai
  34. Aiden and Luke
  35. Matthew, Michael and Ryan
  36. Sebastian
  37. Leo
  38. George and Jackson
  39. Eli and Lincoln
  40. Flynn
  41. Archer and Mitchell
  42. Chase
  43. Caleb, Jake and Jordan
  44. Zachary
  45. Luca
  46. Patrick
  47. Connor
  48. Jai
  49. Austin
  50. Hayden


Biggest Risers
Aria (+14), Evelyn and Mila (+13), Madison and Paige (+12)

Biggest Fallers
Jessica (-9), Jasmine (-8), Ruby and Sofia (-7), Mackenzie and Matilda (-5)

Audrey, Charlie, Maya, Elsie, Lola, Rose, Amber, Indi, Peyton

Aaliyah, Samantha


Biggest Risers
Archie (+20 at least), Aiden (+13), Henry and Logan (+10)

Biggest Fallers
Jake (-18), Braxton (-13 at least), Seth (-12 at least), Daniel (-12), Finn (-11 at least)

Archie, Caleb, Jordan, Luca, Patrick, Jai, Austin, Hayden

Joseph, Ryder, Marcus, Beau, Owen, Nathan, Nicholas, Finn, Seth, Braxton

Famous Name: Richard


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Famous Namesake
I seem to end up doing names connected with cricket every January, and this year my choice was inspired by seeing The Richies in the stands on Day 2 of the Sydney test against India early in the month – otherwise known as known as Richie Day, which takes place the day before Jane McGrath Day.

The Richies are a group of cricket enthusiasts who dress up as iconic cricket commentator Richard “Richie” Benaud, complete with trademark silver hair, cream jacket, sunglasses, and oversized Channel Nine microphone (it is law that a Richie can only speak on Richie Day if they talk into their microphone).

The Richies were founded in 2010 by Michael Hennessy as a homage to Richie Benaud, who had just announced his retirement from full-time commentating. The first year there were ten Richies, this year there were 350; next year they hope to fill a whole bay, which means 680 Richies.

The group were inspired by comedian Billy Birmingham, who has gained fame for his cricket parodies under the name The Twelfth Man, where he often impersonated Richie Benaud’s distinctive voice. This year Billy Birmingham put The Richies through their paces, and revealed his own sons had dressed as Richie Benaud for the 2013 Test.

As for Richie Benaud himself? He wasn’t just a much-loved commentator, but a great all-rounder who debuted in the 1950s, and was captain for 28 tests between 1958 and 1962 without losing a series. He was the first player to complete the test double of 200 wickets and 2000 runs, and has been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame and the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

Now 84 and battling skin cancer, Richie Benaud will appear with Billy Birmingham in advertisements for Australia Day this year – but don’t expect Richie to fully endorse his comedy double.

Name Information
Richard is a Germanic name which comes from ric (“power, rule”) and hard (“brave, hardy”), usually translated as “brave ruler”. It was introduced to Britain by the Normans, and has become one of the stock of standard English names, while also well known in other European countries.

Richard has been commonly used by English royalty and aristocracy. One of the best known is Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart. Said to be tall, elegant, and extremely handsome with red-gold hair, he had a reputation as a great military leader, and remains an enduring figure of romance.

The last English king with the name was Richard III, whose reputation was so tarnished after his death that the name has never been used for a British monarch since (the child who would have been Richard IV was one of the “princes in the Tower” who disappeared in a sinister way, which didn’t help its fortunes as a royal name).

Richard III is infamous from Shakespeare’s play of the same name, where he is portrayed as a deformed, murderous, power-hungry villain. Recently, Richard III has been back in the news after his skeleton was dug up in a Leicester car park, with signs of many injuries from his death at the Battle of Bosworth Fields. Although the skeleton did have scoliosis, so that one shoulder would have been higher than the other, facial reconstruction shows him as looking young and quite pleasant rather than a hideous monster, and modern historians have been kinder towards him.

There are a number of British saints named Richard, including Saint Richard of Chichester, the patron saint of Sussex. There is a Saxon saint named Saint Richard the Pilgrim, but details of his life are sketchy, and Richard doesn’t seem to have been his real name. There are also several Saint Richards who were martyred for their faith in the 16th century.

Because the name has remained in common use for so many years, it is easy to think of famous men named Richard. You might think of composers Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, singers “Little Richard” (Richard Penniman) and Richard Ashcroft, Beatles drummer Richard Starkey “Ringo Starr”, comedians Richard Pryor and Rich Hall, actors Richard Burton, Richard Attenborough, Richard Gere, Richard Harris, Richard E. Grant, Richard Wilson, and Richard Dean Anderson, presenter Richard Hammond, scientist Richard Dawkins, charismatic entrepreneur Richard Branson, and disgraced former US President Richard Nixon, who was named after Richard the Lionheart.

Richard is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #26 in the 1900s, and reached its peak in the 1940s at #15. It didn’t leave the Top 100 until the early 2000s, and has gently declined so it is now around the mid-200s. Despite being at its lowest point so far, the name is still in reasonable use and relatively stable. Its popularity is about the same in the UK, and in the US is around the mid 100s. Richard is most popular in the Czech Republic.

Richard has many nicknames, but one thing not helpful to the name is that most of them seem rather dated. Dick, once so common that we could say Every Tom, Dick and Harry to mean “every man”, is now frowned upon as an embarrassment, while Dicky reminds older people of “Tricky Dicky” Nixon. Rick and Ricky both peaked in the 1960s, and while I quite like Rich, Richie and Ritchie, Richie Rich, Richie Cunningham, and Ritchie Valens might give them a 1950-ish feel.

You can find medieval short forms of Richard through the English surnames they have inspired. Hick and Hitch led to Hitchens, Higg to Higgins, while Ditch led to Deek and Deex. Dickon was King Richard III’s nickname – also a character in The Secret Garden. Dickon was transformed into names such as Diggin and Diggle, which are quite a lot like fashionable Digby, and make Digger or Digs seem like reasonable vintage-style short forms of Richard. Dix is also a possibility, in line with names such as Max.

With Richard, you get a solid classic name that has never been out of the 200s; a name good enough for kings and saints and celebrities, as well as all manner of ordinary men. It’s a name which matures well, and looks professional on a CV. In fact, as Richie Benaud would say, you might think this name is perfectly “marvellous”!


Celebrity Baby News: Jayson Brunsdon and Aaron Elias




Fashion designer Jayson Brunsdon, and his partner Aaron Elias, welcomed their first child on January 5 and have named their son Roman Elias. Roman was born via a Thai surrogate, using an egg donated by a cousin, who will remain part of Roman’s life.

Jayson is a former fashion editor for US Vogue and Follow Me magazine. He has worked as a stylist in New York and been creative director for Morrissey Edmiston. He launched his own label in 2004, and has stores in Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore. His designs are available internationally at major stores such as Myer, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Harvey Nichols, while his collections have been shown at New York Fashion Week. Aaron is Jayson’s business partner; he and Jayson have been together for sixteen years.

The name Roman was chosen to reflect strength and power – there were many obstacles in the way for Jayson and Aaron, and they feel their son had to fight his way to them. Jayson says, “… he is a fighter, warrior”. The middle name, of course, is Aaron’s surname.

(Photo shows Jayson and Aaron with Roman; Jayson is on the left)

The 2014 Matilda Awards


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Welcome to the second annual Matilda Awards, a quest to discover which names featured on the blog in 2014 gained the greatest approval from the public.

Waltzing With … Category

The most popular names featured in the Waltzing With … category were CONSTANCE for girls, which scored an approval rating of 85% and FORREST for boys, which was rated 78%.

Constance is an Old French name dating to medieval times, traditional amongst aristocracy and royalty, but also valued as a virtue name. It hasn’t charted since the 1990s, and hasn’t been popular since the 1920s. The name Constance was chosen to honour courageous World War I nurse, Sister Constance Keys.

Forrest is an English surname with strong Scottish associations, in use as a first name since at least the 16th century, and possibly even earlier. It has never charted, but is found fairly often in Australian historical records. The name Forrest was chosen for the wealthy Forrest family, prominent in conservative politics.

Once again, the key to winning this category, which has a very simple voting system, is for people to have a high level of tolerance for the name. Both Constance and Forrest were names which hardly anybody had animosity towards, and most people thought were perfectly fine.

Famous Name Category

The most popular names featured in the Famous Name Category were HOPE and OPAL for girls, which both scored an approval rating of 86% and SAMUEL for boys, which scored 88% and was the top-rated name overall for the year.

Hope is a virtue name which is an underused classic; almost constantly on the charts, it has never become popular. Hope was praised as a simple and elegant classic which was both pretty and wholesome, and had a very positive meaning. The name was chosen to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War I.

Opal is a gemstone name with a patriotic meaning – the opal is Australia’s national gem, and the black opal is the state gem for New South Wales. A name most used during the Victoria era, it has never charted, but is often found in Australian records, especially in opal mining regions. Opal gained approval as an unusual and refreshing choice which was both pretty and simple, and hip and quirky. The name was chosen for the roll-out of the Opal public transport card in Sydney.

It’s interesting that Hope and Opal tied for first place, as they are quite similar – both short, simple English names with a strong OPE sound to them.

Samuel is a Hebrew name from the Bible; in the Old Testament, Samuel was a prophet and judge of Israel who brought peace to the land. Samuel is a classic name which has never been out of the Top 200, and is very popular, with a stable position for twenty years. Samuel was seen as a handsome classic which was both strong and gentle; a “nice guy” name which aged well and suited a variety of people. The name was chosen for the actor Samuel Johnson, who broke the world unicycling record to raise funds for breast cancer research; coincidentally, Samuel did this feat for his sister, who is named Constance, another favourite name.

Name Themes and Lists Category

The most popular names which were featured in the Names Themes and Lists Category were VIOLET and THEODORE. Violet won very convincingly, and also managed to win its original poll, while Theodore had a comfortable win.

Violet is a retro flower name first used in Scotland. Popular in the 1900s, it left the charts from the 1960s to the 2000s, but is now back with a bang, and zooming up the Top 100. The name was chosen for a spring-time list of native Australian flowers.

Theodore is a Greek name common in ancient times, which gained popularity amongst early Christians. An underused classic, Theodore has been rising steeply for decades, and seems likely to join the Top 100 soon. Theodore was chosen from the Australian children’s book Antonio S and the Mystery of Theodore Guzman by Odo Hirsch, part of a list for Book Week.

Celebrity Baby Names

The most popular celebrity baby girl name was CLEMENTINE FRANCES LOGAN, which proved a clear favourite right from the start. Clementine is the daughter of Peter and Hannah Logan, and this is proof you do not need to be an A-lister to have a great baby name, because the Logans are local celebrities from the Mudgee area, who run a successful wine company. Tess Clementine was the favourite baby name in 2013, and it looks as if blog-readers are Clementine-crazy.

The most popular celebrity baby boy name was EVANDER MAXWELL GLEAVE, who managed to win by a single vote in an extremely tight contest, as many boys’ names were nominated this year. Evander is the son of Australian model and Miss Australia winner Erin McNaught, and British rapper Example (Elliot Gleave).

Clementine and Evander both have elegance and substance, with classical roots, and a European vibe, being fairly popular in France, while uncommon here. The middle names are solid classics which aren’t popular as first names. Celebrities, take note!

There was no favourite amongst the celebrity twins, as none of them received enough approval to be eligible. Yes, this is a tough audience.

Names from the Birth Announcements

The most popular names for multiples were boy/girl twins FLORENCE AND HENRY, who proved solid performers. This handsome twin set from March was nominated by Madelyn.

In the girls section, ARABELLA HERMIONE ROSE scraped through by one vote. Elegant and a little off-beat, this pretty girl’s name from April was nominated by Sophia.

Amongst the boys, HUGO FREDERICK had a very comfortable win. This stylish boy’s name from early November was nominated by Nana Patricia.

The sibsets were dominated by LILY, WINTER, BEAU AND VIOLET, who absolutely destroyed all opposition. Note that Violet had a second victory. These four siblings, whose names have a simple, natural feel, were nominated in late November by both Nicole and Names For Real (Sarah from For Real Baby Names).

Some themes were clear this year: Scottish names did very well, as Forrest, Violet, Clementine Logan and Arabella all have links with Scotland. It did not win independence, but the land of loch and legend clearly won our hearts. Nature names and virtue names were also clear favourites – a positive meaning seems to be a real help.

Celebrity Baby News: Football Babies


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Rugby union player Sonny Bill Williams, and his wife Alana Raffie, welcomed their daughter Imaan on November 18 last year. Sonny Bill is a New Zealander from a sporting family who has played rugby in both France and New Zealand, and is signed with the Chiefs for this season. He also plays for the national side, and is the first Muslim to play for the All Blacks, having converted to Islam in 2008. He is also a heavyweight boxer, taking up the sport in 2009; he will fight American Chauncy Welliver in Sydey at the end of the month. Sonny Bill has lived in Australia and played rugby league for the Bulldogs and the Roosters, so he has a high profile here, and his wife Alana, a former dancer, is an Australian of South African heritage. The couple met through Facebook in June 2013, and were married six weeks later. Apparently Alana liked the name Armani (meaning “faith”), and Sonny Bill was keen on Eman (meaning “safety”); Imaan seems to be a good compromise, because it sounds like dad’s choice, and has the same meaning as mum’s choice.

Australian rules footballer Shane Savage, and his partner Sarah, welcomed their son Jett Isaac on January 6. Shane began his career at Hawthorn in 2009, and since last year has been signed with St Kilda. Originally from New Zealand, he moved to Australia as a child.

(Photo shows Alana and Sonny Bill)

Aquilla and Ptolemy


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Saturn Rain and Rainbow Sky – both girls (Jacob, Steven, Nevaeh)
Saxon Edward and Oscar Walter Leslie
Mia Jayne, Layla Maree and Audrina Nicole

Alice Hilda (Sebastian)
Allegra Victoria
Anika Scarlett
Aquilla Claire
Armani Maeve
Beatrix Shi Hui
Beth Isla Joy (Oscar)
Chae Leonie
Estelle Jane Mae (Tahlia)
Francesca Jean
Harriet Olive (Adeline)
Hazel Amala (George, Harry)
Indiana Louise (Maverick)
Iris Mary
Lilli Lou-Ann (Courtney, Hayden, Kaylah)
Lucy Vivienne
Mason Jade
Mira Eileen
Mathilda Rose
Peggy Elizabeth (Elijah)
Remi Willow (Piper)
Sage Margaret (Eli)
Vali Lina
Willa Taylah (Maya)

Archie Peter (Nella)
Ashton Willem (Angel-lea)
Brody Agostino
Caleb Wray
Charlie Ira
Denver Reid
Dominic Jardi
Ezra Rowan (Nina, Ted)
Felix William (Cosmo)
Fletcher Brock (Sophie)
Franky Charles (Lexie)
Henry Victor (Amos)
Hezekiah John
Jordan Alexander TeMaheno
Joseph Leslie (Wellington, Arthur)
Juan Jobin
Luca Julian (Rafael)
Macauley Bruce
Myles Noel (Elijah)
Ptolemy Edwin Aloysius
Sheldon Paul Ross
Soren Corban
Tander Lucas
Zia James

(Picture is of a wedgetail eagle – Aquila audax – at Swifts Creek, Victoria; photo taken by Fir002 of Flagstaffotos)

Celebrity Baby News: Josh and Amie Frydenberg



Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg, and his wife Amie, welcomed their first child last spring, and named their daughter Gemma.

Josh studied law at Monash and entered a commercial law firm before studying international relations at Oxford and public adminstration at Harvard. He worked as an adviser to former Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and former Prime Minister John Howard, and became Director of Global Banking with Deutsche Bank. He won the safe Liberal seat of Kooyong in Melbourne’s inner east, a traditional lauching pad for conservative leaders, at the 2010 federal election, and was re-elected in 2013 with the largest Liberal swing in his seat since 1975. He was the first Jewish Liberal elected to the House of Represenatives. Appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, late last year he was sworn in as Assistant Treasurer. A keen tennis-player, Josh is on the board of Kids Tennis Foundation, which provides coaching to disadvantaged children.

Amie (nee Saunderson) is a Melbourne lawyer specialising in workplace issues. She and Josh were married in 2010.

Famous Name: Duke


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Front page only -Dukes_Day_A4_Jack McCoy 27 June

Famous Namesake
Last weekend there was a festival at Freshwater, on Sydney’s northern beaches, in honour of Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku. A century ago, Duke introduced surfing to Australia, riding a board he fashioned from Sydney timber on Christmas Eve, 1914. It was so popular that he gave a second demonstration on January 10 1915.

It was Australian swimmer Cecil Healy who brought Duke here. Cecil was one of Australia’s greatest competitive swimmers at the turn of the twentieth century, saving numerous people from drowning as a surf lifesaver, touring Europe to demonstrate the daring new “crawl” stroke, and competing in the earliest modern Olympic Games.

At the 1912 Games in Stockholm, Cecil and Duke both qualified for the semi-finals in the 100 metre event, but because the American team missed the bus, none of the US swimmers qualified for the finals. Cecil intervened, and helped the Americans appeal: because of his assistance, the Americans were allowed to swim another race, and Duke qualified for the finals. In the final, Duke won easily, and Cecil came second.

His good sportsmanship had cost Cecil a gold medal, but it gained him a friend. When Cecil invited Duke to come to Australia and give swimming and surfing exhibitions, he could hardly refuse. Just two years after introducing surfing to California, Duke was at Freshwater to demonstrate the Hawaiian sport. The crowd went wild, and in a heartbeat, Australia’s love affair with surfing had begun.

Today Freshwater boasts the title Home of Australian Surfing. Duke’s board is on display at the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club, and there is a bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku on the headland at Freshwater. Freshwater is a sister city to Waikiki in Honolulu, and every year it celebrates Duke’s Day, to honour the Hawaiian athlete who made such a huge contribution to Australian culture.

Duke Kahanamoku continued to win Olympic medals, and later became a Hollywood actor. In 1940, he married Nadine Alexander, an American dancer whose mother had been an opera singer from South Australia. Sadly, Cecil Healy was killed on the Somme in 1918, the only Australian gold medal-winning Olympian to die in battle.

Name Information
Duke is an aristocratic title, traditionally the highest rank of the nobility, just below a monarch. Dukes can also rule their own countries as monarchs, but today there is only one ruling duke – His Royal Highness Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Although we usually think of dukes as being male, Queen Elizabeth is both Duke of Normandy and Duke of Lancaster.

The word comes from the Latin dux, meaning “leader”. It could be given to a military commander, and also governors of provinces. Later it meant the highest-ranking military officer in a province.

As a slang term, the dukes are the fists, and thus “to duke it out” means to settle a score using your fists. This is probably from Cockney rhyming slang, where Duke of York means “fork”; fork is Cockney slang for “hand”, because they have a similar shape.

The surname Duke could have been given to someone who worked in a duke’s household or was part of his entourage, and as medieval dukes tended to have other nobles around them, many of the early Dukes were of aristocratic origins. The surname can also be derived from the Irish name Marmaduke, meaning “follower of Saint Maedoc”, and it has a long history in Ireland, especially Northern Ireland.

Just as with the surname, Duke can be used as a nickname for the first name Marmaduke, however it is often bestowed or self-chosen as an honorific nickname. Jazz legend Edward “Duke” Ellington was given his nickname in childhood from his elegant manners. Hollywood star John Wayne (born Marion Morrison) also became known as Duke in childhood, because he was always in the company of his dog, Duke. Understandably he preferred Duke to his given name Marion, and when he started out as an actor tried using Duke Morrison as his screen name, but the producers preferred John Wayne. The Thin White Duke was one of David Bowie’s stage personae.

Duke has been used as a personal name since at least the 16th century, and although it originated in England, has historically been more common in the United States. In case you were wondering, Duke Kahanamoku was named after his father, and Duke Kahanamoku Senior was given his name in honour of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Hawaii in 1869.

Duke has been on and off the US Top 1000 since 1880, and after a break of more than forty years, it returned in 2013 and is currently #718. In England/Wales, there were 21 baby boys named Duke last year.

Duke can be found as a personal name in Australian historical records from the late 19th century onwards. It is much more common as a middle name, and as it was sometimes given to girls in this position, suggests it was inspired by the surname in many cases. It is often found as a common law nickname, and in one case at least, the baby was christened rather humorously, as his name was Duke Wellington.

The name became problematic in Australia during the 1990s when name laws were introduced, because titles as names were not permitted. This wasn’t much of an issue at the time, as the numbers of parents wanting to call their sons Duke were few and far between – flourishing at the turn of the twentieth century, the name Duke was very much out of fashion back then.

However, things have changed. Not only are vintage names firmly back in style, there have been a number of recent fictional Dukes to raise interest in the name, including Duke from GI Joe (played by Channing Tatum in the movies), Duke Crocker from supernatural drama Haven, Duke Nukem from the video games, and maybe even the Dukes of Hazzard, who got a big-screen outing.

As a result, some parents have begun to chafe against this restriction, and in New South Wales, the name Duke was successfully challenged in 2009, so that it is now permitted in this state. Queensland has revealed that it has registered Duke as a baby name, and in South Australia the name Duke was registered 4 times last year. In Victoria, the name Duke was registered 8 times in 2012, and in Tasmania, Duke was registered twice in 2010.

Some parents may still be avoiding the name in the belief it is outlawed (I have seen babies named Juke and Djuke in a possible attempt to circumvent the name laws), but all signs point to it being an accepted choice. So if you want to use this rather cool vintage name for your son – go for it!


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