Name News Round-Up


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Banned Baby Names

It was reported in The Age last month that the state of Victoria is banning baby names under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act. This isn’t actually news in the sense of new information – that’s been the situation everywhere in Australia since the mid-1990s, with all states following more or less the same guidelines. It is a reminder that Births Deaths and Marriages has the discretion to reject names that are deemed unsuitable – however, the newspaper report failed to mention that parents can appeal the decision, and appeals have been successful in the past. Names rejected in Victoria included Lord, Princess, Princess Di and Prince (titles), Fireman Sam (trademark), Tit (offensive), and also Glory Hallelujah, New Covernant, Wonderful Beautiful, Anarchy, and Honest Mary, which seem to be Victoria’s idea of unsuitable. Pepper, Jazz, Reef, and Texan Gamble all made the cut however.

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported that “quirky” names were being banned in Victoria. The article said rather smugly that parents were free to choose any name they want in Queensland, whether it be pop culture Khaleesi or traditional Francis Xavier. That seems idiotic, as Khaleesi is allowed in Victoria too – it’s a title, but a fictional one, and not in English – although it’s not as popular as in Queensland. Queensland has the same naming regulations as the rest of Australia, but while the article was smug and silly, there was a grain of truth behind it, because names seem to be very rarely disallowed in Queensland, and it does have a more relaxed naming culture. Moral of the story: if you yearn for a kookier baby name, you are better off moving to Queensland than Victoria.

Radio Audience Help Choose Baby Name

Melbourne’s first baby of 2014 was born at 12.34 am on January 1 at the Royal Women’s Hospital to professional dancers Bessie and George Awad. The Awads couldn’t decide between their three favourite names of Indiana, Marley, and Summer, so they threw it open to listeners of radio station 3AW and its Twitter followers. Indiana was by far the most popular choice of the public, and this was the name they went with. Indiana was also the choice of dad George, who chose it because he thought his baby daughter “looked like a little Pocahontas” (not the most politically correct name story!). Bessie says the name suits Indiana. By the way, don’t you love mum and dad’s names – Bessie and George, adorable.

Baby Name Trends of 2014

Practical Parenting magazine had a slideshow of baby name trends to watch for in 2014, including old fashioned names, boys names for girls, surnames-as-first-names, and literary names. They also gave their predictions of which names would rise this year, and with so many guesses that at least a few of them will be correct.

When Rafael Became Rafferty

Comedian Dave Hughes has been on the blog a couple of times because of his delightfully named children Rafferty, Sadie and Tess – Tess Clementine was even voted the public’s favourite celebrity baby name last year. In an interview this year [story expired] Dave revealed that the first choice for his son’s name was Rafael. Even though this isn’t uncommon in Australia, Dave felt that they weren’t Spanish enough to pull off having a Rafael, so went with Rafferty instead. It’s interesting to wonder what would have happened if they’d gone with Rafael – would they have had two girls named Sadie and Tess? My guess is no: it’s interesting to see how the choice of the first child’s name can influence your other children’s’ names.

An Australian Name in America

A rare set of identical triplets were born in California, named Abby, Laurel and Brindabella – who made their way into the Birth Announcements here. The triplets’ dad is originally from Canberra in the ACT, where the Brindabellas form a mountain range to the west. He spent a lot of time exploring the mountains, and discovering a love of nature – he and his wife were married in the mountains in 2007, when they wed on top of Mount Franklin. Brindabella was named after the mountains of her dad’s home town, and although it sounds unusual next to her sisters, Brin or Bella will excite little excitement. Brindabella either means “two kangaroo rats” in the local language or “water running over rocks” with a European -bella added to mean “beautiful”.

True Blue 

Business Insider reported on websites which allow people to connect for the purposes of co-parenting. They aren’t dating websites, but provide an opportunity for single people who want children to match up so they can start a family together. The story featured Australian man Fabian Blue, who has moved to Nebraska in the United States to be with his co-parent, Dawn Pieke, and they have a one-year-old daughter together named Indigo. While Indigo is a common name in Australia, Indigo Blue has a nice ring to it.

Name Inspired By Royal Visit

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just arrived in Australia, and 60 years ago Queen Elizabeth made her own royal tour. Dorothy Williams remembers the day that the queen came to Bendigo in regional Victoria, because she was in hospital after having given birth to a baby girl. The hospital beds were placed close to the window so that patients could see the queen being driven through the hospital gates. Dorothy named her daughter Pamela after Pamela Mountbatten, the queen’s lady-in-waiting. Lady Pamela is a first cousin of Prince Philip, and was a bridesmaid at his wedding to Queen Elizabeth. In 1954, Pamela was the #12 girls name in Victoria, just one place behind Elizabeth. I wonder how many of the 426 Pamelas were named after Lady Pamela, and how many of the 429 Elizabeths were named for the queen?

They First Met in the Local Birth Notices

I read a lot of birth notices, including from the Port Lincoln Times, so was interested to see this story about Olivia Fairclough. She and her twin sister Belinda were born on October 8 1975, and while researching softball history in the local paper, Olivia happened to come across their original birth notice, published October 16 1975. To her amazement, she saw that her husband’s birth notice was published below it – Martin Sheridan was born on October 9 1975 in Western Australia, but his grandparents in Port Lincoln announced the birth in their home town. He later moved to Port Lincoln, and he and Olivia have been married for five years. Keep a copy of the birth notices for the day your baby’s birth is announced: their future spouse may be in it.

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The Top 50 Names in Australia


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  1. Charlotte
  2. Olivia
  3. Ava
  4. Emily
  5. Mia
  6. Amelia
  7. Chloe
  8. Ruby
  9. Isabella
  10. Sophie
  11. Ella
  12. Grace
  13. Sienna
  14. Zoe
  15. Matilda
  16. Lily
  17. Isla
  18. Sophia
  19. Emma
  20. Lucy
  21. Ivy
  22. Evie
  23. Hannah
  24. Scarlett
  25. Zara
  26. Harper
  27. Layla
  28. Abigail
  29. Eva
  30. Georgia
  31. Willow
  32. Isabelle
  33. Imogen
  34. Jasmine
  35. Jessica
  36. Madison
  37. Alexis
  38. Evelyn
  39. Sofia
  40. Alice
  41. Sarah
  42. Mackenzie
  43. Stella
  44. Audrey
  45. Annabelle
  46. Savannah
  47. Chelsea
  48. Maddison
  49. Summer
  50. Elizabeth

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

NOTE: The Australian Top 50 is put together by Kidspot parenting website, and unlike the Top 100, it doesn’t combine spellings. Data from the Australian Capital Territory is not included. I did try to look at the names which fell and rose the most in popularity, but found it wasn’t really possible because of the differences between the Top 50 and Top 100, and different ways they had been collated.


Waltzing With … Sunday


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In a week it will be Easter, which is always on the first Sunday after the full moon following March 21. This computation was agreed upon in the 4th century, although it was apparently already an old tradition in Rome. The Gospels tell us that the Resurrection of Christ took place on a Sunday, and from then on the day had special significance for Christians.

In the New Testament Sunday is called the Lord’s Day, and early Christians gathered for worship then. This was formalised in the 4th century, and may have been easier to implement because Sunday was already a public holiday in the Roman Empire. It is because of Christianity, and in particular because of Easter, that Sunday is regarded as a holiday – technically every Sunday of the Christian year is “Easter”, because it commemorates the Resurrection.

The English word Sunday comes from Old English, and simply means “sun’s day”. It is derived from the Germanic translation of the Latin term dies solis, meaning “day of the sun”, and in turn, this translates the Ancient Greek, heméra helíou.

The Ancient Greeks named each day of the week after the sun, the moon, and the five known planets, which were associated with gods; an idea they got from the Egyptians. The Romans followed this pattern, as did the Germanic peoples. It seems to be an Indo-European custom, because in most Indian languages, the word for Sunday is also linked with sun gods. So although Sunday has strong Christian associations, the English word has a long pagan history.

Sunday has been used as a personal name since at least the 18th century, and was possibly used for babies born on a Sunday. The first American named Sunday I can find was African-American, and in her case it may have been a slave name. The name Sunday was originally given fairly evenly to boys and girls, although today Sunday is usually thought of as a female name. Its unisex status is still active – in 2012 we had a celebrity baby boy called Sunday.

Sunday has become a celebrity baby name in Australia, since radio host Kate Langbroek chose it for her eldest daughter, Sunday Lil Lewis, in 2005. Kate’s daughter was named after celebrated art patron Sunday Reed, born Lelda Sunday Baillieau. She was from a wealthy and privileged background, and her second husband was John Reed. Together the couple gave both friendship and financial support to modern artists such as Sidney Nolan and Charles Blackman. Sidney Nolan became Sunday’s lover, and he painted his famous Ned Kelly series in the Reeds’ dining room.

The Reeds’ home near Heidelberg was named Heide, and it later became the Heide Museum of Modern Art. There was a kitchen garden at Heide, and many years later, Kate Langbroek ate from a rockmelon which Sunday Reed had planted there. It seems to have been something of an epiphanous moment for Kate, and served as the inspiration for her daughter’s name.

In 2008, actress Nicole Kidman and her husband, country music star Keith Urban, named their eldest daughter Sunday Rose. This caused Kate Langbroek a certain amount of consternation, who declared that the Kidman-Urbans had “stolen” her baby name.

What may have made it more irritating for Kate was that news sources reported that Sunday Rose had also been named after Sunday Reed. Nicole’s father Dr Antony Kidman was quoted as saying that he and Nicole’s mother had suggested the name Sunday after reading about Sunday Reed.

Meanwhile, baby name conspiracy theorists believed that the name Sunday had been chosen for its Christian significance. They saw the choice of the name Sunday as a declaration of Nicole Kidman’s Catholic faith, and a public rejection of her ex-husband’s devotion to the Church of Scientology.

By Nicole Kidman’s testimony, neither of these stories was correct, and they simply liked the name Sunday. Furthermore, what made the name special to them was that Sunday was the couple’s day to spend together – it was a name that symbolised love and the end of loneliness. It was also the day of the week they got married.

Although some people still see Sunday as a religious name, it’s important to remember that Sundays have secular significance too. Sunday is a holiday, a day of freedom from work, a day for sports and games, for beaches and barbecues, for friends and family. A great day for visiting art museums, too!

When the name of Nicole and Keith’s daughter was announced, I was surprised to see how many people online thought of it as a “wacky celebrity baby name”, like Audio Science or Pilot Inspektor. There often seemed to be disdain or even hostility towards it. In Australia, most people seem to like the name, except those who think that Sunday Rose sounds too much like “Sunday roast”.

Now Canadian comedian Mike Myers has a daughter named Sunday – Sunday Molly. However, Mike’s son is named Spike, which may just cement the idea that Sunday is the sort of crazy baby name that parents who like the name Spike might choose.

The name Sunday has only been on the US Top 1000 once, in the 1960s, and is extremely rare in the UK. Sunday has never charted in Australia, and between 2002 and 2007 there were 36 babies named Sunday born in Victoria. While Kate Langbroek hasn’t managed to keep the name to herself, her fear was that after the birth of Sunday Rose, the popularity of the name would snowball and there would be a “plague of Sundays”. Her baby name nightmare hasn’t eventuated – yet it does feel as if the name Sunday is slowly gathering momentum.

Sunday is a rare name, but still in occasional use, and you must not expect to be the only parent in the world, or even the state, with a little Sunday. It’s a day of the week with a simple meaning, and many layers of associations that are pagan, Christian and secular, but overall tied to the light and life from the sun – a name of warmth and happiness. Sunny or Sunnie is the obvious nickname, which brings the name right back to its origins.

(Photo shows the original 19th farmhouse at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne, which became a focal point for progressive art and culture: the Reeds made it their home from 1935 to 1967)

What Name Would You Add to This Sibset of Happy Little Vegemites?


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Kathryn and her husband have two children named Lachlan and Eliza, and are expecting a new baby later this year. Although they are still to choose a name for either a girl or a boy, they are finding boy’s names much harder.

Possible names for a girl (in order of preference):

  • Violet
  • Rose
  • Isabelle
  • Ruby
  • Grace
  • Hazel

Possible names for a boy (no preference):

  • Angus
  • Charlie/Charles
  • Darcy
  • Liam (too many Ls in the sibset?)
  • William

Names crossed off their list:
Girls – April, Isla, Carys, Mabel
Boys – James, Ashton, Jude

The middle name will be a family name, and for a girl it will be Jane, Rose or Lorraine, while for a boy it will be Harvey, or possibly Michael. The family surname begins with G and ends with T eg Grant.

Kathryn is interested to know what people think of Lachlan and Eliza as their children’s names, and what names would sound best to continue the sibset.

* * * * * * * * * *

I think Lachlan and Eliza are perfectly matched as a sibset – they are both names with a long history in Australia, and yet both names are much more popular now than they ever have been before. Furthermore, they both seem very Australian to me, because they instantly remind me of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, and Eliza Darling, a governor’s wife. I get a strong impression of colonial Australia hearing the two names together (in a way I wouldn’t if I heard Lachlan and Ella, or Lucas and Eliza).

They are what I call a sibset which is almost too perfectly matched, because they sound so right together than sometimes it can be hard to find another name to add to them which is equally perfect, making a third name slightly challenging. However, I know you’re going to manage it.

Let’s look at your name list:


I love Violet and Eliza as sisters, because they both have that long I sound in the middle. To me this sibset has a rather Scottish sound to it. If I was going to be very persnickety, I might wonder how well Violet goes with your surname, as they both end with a T sound, although it doesn’t actually sound bad. I like Jane or Lorraine as the middle name.

Rose is absolutely sweet as a sister to Lachlan and Eliza, although to me it sounds slightly odd with your surname. It’s not terrible, but does seem to stutter a tiny bit. I like Lorraine as the middle name.

I’m going to be annoyingly name nerdy here, and say I don’t like Eliza and Isabelle as sisters, because both of them are derived from the name Elizabeth, so to me it just doesn’t sound right. However, I bet most people wouldn’t notice or care, and Isabelle sounds very nice with your surname. You could use any of the chosen family names in the middle.

This makes a bright and cheery addition, and like Lachlan and Eliza, Ruby is more popular now than ever before. This strikes me as a very Australian sibset. I do like Ruby with your surname, and all three of your chosen middle names suit it.

Even though Grace sounds great with Lachlan and Eliza, and is another name enjoying its peak popularity, to me this is a non-starter, because it sounds awful with your surname – almost a tongue-twister. If you are very keen on Grace, could you use this as a second middle name?

Even though this is your last choice as a girl’s name, it’s actually my favourite. I love the shared Z sound in Eliza and Hazel, and that Hazel ends with the same letter Lachlan starts with, tying everything together very neatly. It sounds really lovely with your surname (quite romantic), and all three of the possible middle names could be used with it.


I think this makes a perfect match with Lachlan and Eliza. It’s another traditional Australian name that is more popular now than any time previously, and there were several prominent men named Angus in colonial history. It gives you a nice sturdy-sounding Scottish sibset as well. I like Angus Harvey, although Angus Michael sounds fine too.

Charlie or Charles
This is an excellent match too – it also sounds rather Scottish, thanks to Bonnie Prince Charlie. I think Harvey sounds good as the middle name for Charles, but if you went with Charlie as the full name, I think you might prefer Michael.

Another perfect match which sounds incredibly Australian, and Darcy is like Lachlan and Eliza in that it’s never been so popular as now. I love how this sounds with your surname, and like Charlie, think Michael makes a better middle name than Harvey in this case.

You’re worried that Liam might be a case of too many Ls, and although I don’t think that’s too much of a problem, I do think Lachlan and Liam do sound very alike – not just because they are two syllables and starting with L, but because they end in a similar sound too. To me this seems a bit awkward, but still workable if you love the name Liam.

You can’t really go wrong with William – it’s a handsome classic which is great with Lachlan and Eliza, and sounds really nice with your surname – very professional. I like William Harvey a lot as a name combination.

I know you said you were having more problems with boy names, but it seems that nearly all the boy names you’ve thought of are absolutely fine. I wonder if the trouble is that you can’t decide between them?

I think you’ve got a great list of possible names, and it doesn’t seem that you are going to have any real trouble coming up with another baby name. You’re not due for a while, so do feel free to write in again to narrow your lists further, or to ask for name suggestions, or to ask for help with middle names, or any other issue which comes up before the due date.

Readers, what do you think of the sibset Lachlan and Eliza, and what name would you suggest as their brother or sister?

(Picture shows brother and sister Ruby and Oliver enjoying a jar of Vegemite together; photo from


April Lily and Hope Francesca


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William Marc and Annie Florence (Jordan)

Acacia Isabella Moon – surname Beames (Cody Laser)
Amelia Rosalie (Lucy, Charlotte)
April Lily
Ariella Paris
Azaria Nevaeh (Isabel, Harley)
Claira Rose Meurant
Evelyn Adele
Greta Louise (Lachlan, Henry)
Hope Francesca (Georgia)
Isla Helena (Lennox)
Lucia Estelle (Michael)
Mabel Audrey (Millie)
Nina Elizabeth (Elsa)
Polly Angela
Sybil Heather (Jasper, Beth, Julia)
Tilly Mae Francis
Vivienne Patrice (Dylan, Reilly, Banksia)

Ali Hussain
Angus Molony Wendell (Rose)
Archie Rian Jose (Marley)
Carter Perry
David Alexandru
Freddie James
Hamish Ian (Lily)
Harry Francis Timber
Jace Ryder
Jesse Emanuel (Christopher, Lana)
Jethro Colin (Archie, Pippa)
John Wayne
Jonah Oskar (Blake)
Leslie William (Joshua)
Lewis Stanley (Jemma, Phoebe)
Morgan Asher (Tae, Carter)
Orlando Benedict (Zoe, Eden)
River James Patrick (Willow, Peyten, Tait, Quinn)
Sid Michael (Sonny)
Theo Walter Rex

Note: A few of these names are from Bonds Baby Search 2014.

(Picture is of a Belladonna Lily; these are sometimes called Easter Lilies in the southern hemisphere because they flower in early autumn)

The Top 100 Baby Names in Australia for 2013


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  1. Charlotte
  2. Olivia
  3. Ava
  4. Emily
  5. Mia
  6. Amelia
  7. Ruby
  8. Sophia/Sofia
  9. Chloe
  10. Sophie
  11. Isabella
  12. Lily/Lilly
  13. Ella
  14. Grace
  15. Sienna
  16. Madison/Maddison
  17. Isla
  18. Matilda
  19. Zoe
  20. Emma
  21. Ivy
  22. Lucy
  23. Isabelle/Isabel
  24. Hannah
  25. Scarlett
  26. Evie
  27. Harper
  28. Zara
  29. Willow
  30. Layla
  31. Abigail
  32. Georgia
  33. Eva
  34. Imogen
  35. Jasmine
  36. Milla/Mila
  37. Summer
  38. Jessica
  39. Alexis
  40. Savannah
  41. Sarah
  42. Mackenzie
  43. Evelyn
  44. Annabelle
  45. Alice
  46. Stella
  47. Elizabeth
  48. Bella
  49. Chelsea
  50. Audrey
  51. Violet
  52. Poppy
  53. Addison
  54. Holly
  55. Paige
  56. Ellie
  57. Aria
  58. Madeleine/Madeline
  59. Phoebe
  60. Alyssa
  61. Hayley
  62. Indiana/Indianna
  63. Maya
  64. Anna
  65. Eden
  66. Lola
  67. Eliza
  68. Eloise
  69. Alexandra
  70. Piper
  71. Charli/Charlie/Charlee
  72. Claire
  73. Lara
  74. Samantha
  75. Molly
  76. Rose
  77. Olive
  78. Aaliyah
  79. Victoria
  80. Amelie
  81. Penelope
  82. Lillian
  83. Eve
  84. Jade
  85. Mikayla
  86. Amber
  87. Ayla
  88. Heidi
  89. Harriet
  90. Daisy
  91. Elsie
  92. Skye
  93. Leah
  94. Indie
  95. Pippa
  96. Indigo
  97. Nevaeh
  98. Peyton
  99. Caitlin
  100. Ariana

  1. Oliver
  2. William
  3. Jack
  4. Noah
  5. Jackson/Jaxon
  6. James
  7. Thomas
  8. Ethan
  9. Lucas
  10. Cooper
  11. Lachlan
  12. Joshua
  13. Mason
  14. Liam
  15. Alexander
  16. Samuel
  17. Harrison
  18. Jacob
  19. Max
  20. Benjamin
  21. Charlie
  22. Henry
  23. Isaac
  24. Xavier
  25. Hunter
  26. Riley
  27. Oscar
  28. Harry
  29. Levi
  30. Daniel
  31. Ryan
  32. Jayden
  33. Hudson
  34. Logan
  35. Tyler
  36. Elijah
  37. Flynn
  38. Sebastian
  39. Leo
  40. Blake
  41. Jake
  42. Michael
  43. Connor
  44. Archie
  45. Zachary
  46. Braxton
  47. Luke
  48. Eli
  49. Matthew
  50. Lincoln
  51. Aiden
  52. Patrick
  53. Nate
  54. Nicholas
  55. Archer
  56. Dylan
  57. Joseph
  58. Chase
  59. Edward
  60. George
  61. Mitchell
  62. Finn
  63. Nathan
  64. Beau
  65. Ryder
  66. Angus
  67. Hugo
  68. Hayden
  69. Jordan
  70. Luca
  71. Ashton
  72. Caleb
  73. Owen
  74. Louis
  75. Kai
  76. Toby
  77. Bailey
  78. Adam
  79. Nathaniel
  80. Austin
  81. Charles
  82. Jasper
  83. Marcus
  84. Christian
  85. Alex
  86. Felix
  87. Jesse
  88. Darcy
  89. Hamish
  90. Dominic
  91. Jett
  92. John
  93. Ali
  94. Aaron
  95. David
  96. Seth
  97. Lewis
  98. Parker
  99. Anthony
  100. Jonathan


Biggest Risers
Aria (+27), Penelope (+20 at least), Eloise and Lillian (+18), Evelyn (+16), Samantha (+15), Ayla (+14 at least), Olive (+13), Harriet (+12 at least), Daisy (+11 at least)

Biggest Fallers
Amy (-33 at least), Tahlia (-24 at least), Kayla (-21), Charli/Charlie/Charlee and Molly (-19), Jade and Mikayla (-15), Caitlin and Leah (-14), Gabriella (-13 at least)

New: Ariana, Ayla, Daisy, Elsie, Harriet, Indie, Indigo, Nevaeh, Penelope, Peyton, Pippa

Gone: Amy, Angelina, Ebony, Elise, Gabriella, Josephine, Kayla, Lacey, Lauren, Mariam, Tahlia

Comments: Sophia/Sofia rises 4 spots to join the Top 10. Nevaeh manages to join the national Top 100, even though it only charts in Queensland.


Biggest Risers
Louis (+27 at least), Nathaniel (+22 at least), Ryder (+21), Hudson (+18), Lincoln (+17), Felix (+15 at least), Leo (+15), George (+11), Jett (+10 at least)

Biggest Fallers
Declan (-17 at least), Aidan/Aiden and Hamish (-17), Dylan and Hayden (-16), Kai (-13), Adam and Anthony (-12), Cameron (-11 at least), Zac (-10 at least)

New: Aaron, Felix, Jett, Lewis, Louis, Nathaniel, Parker, Seth

Gone: Andrew, Callum, Cameron, Christopher, Declan, Gabriel, Muhammad, Zac

Comments: Muhammad leaves the Top 100, even though it was one of the biggest risers in New South Wales. Royal baby names George, Alexander and Louis all rose in popularity, with Louis and George amongst the high risers for 2013.

NOTES: The national Top 100 combines variant spellings when computing popularity. This does change the results, and sometimes it’s not clear why certain names are combined and others not: for example, why Milla and Mila are counted as one name, when they are pronounced differently, while Louis and Lewis are counted separately, when they are often pronounced identically. Overall, the number of babies receiving a Top 100 name dropped from 40.6% to 39.6%, and more boys than girls received a popular name.

Celebrity Baby News: Giaan Rooney and Sam Levett



Retired swimmer and television presenter Giaan Rooney, and her husband Sam Levett, welcomed their first child on March 17, and have named their son Zander.

Giaan began her international swimming career aged 15 at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, where she won a gold medal in the 100 m backstroke, and was a member of the gold-medal winning relay team. In 2001 she claimed the world swimming title in 200 m freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Japan; at this event, the Australian women’s relay team, which included Giaan, were disqualified after they jumped in the pool to celebrate their victory. Giaan was named captain of the Australian swim team for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and won a silver medal in the 100 m backstroke, coming second by only 0.01 of a second; as you would expect of such a tight contest, video footage of the result was ambiguous. Giaan retired from competitive swimming after this event. During her career, she won gold and two silvers at Olympic Games, and two golds, three silvers and a bronze at Commonwealth Games. Since retiring from swimming, Giaan has worked as a television presenter, and until going on maternity leave, was the weather presenter on Seven News Melbourne.

Sam is a helicopter pilot. He and Giaan were married in 2011, and they live on a farm in country Victoria.

(Photo of Giaan and Sam from Pinterest)


Famous Names: Gatsby and Catherine


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Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby won Best Film at this year’s Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, and scooped the pool with thirteen AACTA Awards. It was slightly controversial, because the AACTAs are for Australian films, and The Great Gatsby is an adapation of an American novel financed by Warner Brothers. It does call into question what makes a film “Australian”, but if Cate Blanchett can win an Oscar, surely Leo DiCaprio can win an AACTA?

The Great Gatsby is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the Roaring Twenties, with the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby at its centre. Gatsby is famous for his lavish parties and grand mansion, yet this decadence is only to attract the woman he yearns for. The Greek tragedy of their summer romance provides an opportunity for lyrical musings on the illusory nature of the Great American Dream.

It was probably always going to be controversial to have an Australian direct a movie based on a classic of American literature. Furthermore, while Fitzgerald’s novel is spare and subtle, Baz Luhrman’s films are about as spare and subtle as the Sydney Mardi Gras. However, while critics were underwhelmed, audiences were more receptive to its ornateness and fidelity to the text; the film is Baz Luhrman’s highest-grossing to date, at more than $350 million.

The Great Gatsby won Best Production Design and Best Costume Design at the Oscars, both awards going to Baz Luhrman’s wife, Catherine Martin, who also won two Academy Awards for Moulin Rouge! in 2002. Having now won four Oscars, this makes her Australia’s greatest Academy Award winner of all time, taking the top spot from costume designer Orry-Kelly.

The English surname Gatsby is after the village of Gaddesby in Leicestershire, which comes from the Old Norse personal name Gaddr, meaning “spike, sting, goad”. It therefore means “Gaddr’s homestead”, and from the name we can tell it dates from the Danish Occupation of the 9th and 10th centuries. Gaddr is the basis for the word gadfly, which refers to any biting fly, and gaddr was also used to refer to hard packed snow.

Jay Gatsby’s name is a self-chosen one: he was born James “Jimmy” Gatz. In fiction, it seems whenever a character goes by a different name, they are not all that they seem. Whether it is Strider from Lord of the Rings travelling under a nom de guerre, or James Bond villain Le Chiffre going by a criminal alias, some deception is taking place, whether it be gold not glistering or something more sinister. In the case of Jay Gatsby, his name change seems like that of Cate Blanchett’s character in Blue Jasmine – an attempt to escape the past.

In real life, it’s quite normal for people to change their names, for all kinds of reasons. Baz Luhrman was named Mark by his parents, and legally changed his name to his childhood nickname (technically his “tease name”, as his schoolmates said his hair looked like vulpine puppet Basil Brush).

Gatsby has had rare use in the United States as a first name for both sexes, well before Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel. There was a small spike after the 1974 movie starring Robert Redford as Gatsby, and these were boys. Likewise, a few boys have been named Gatsby recently. Although Gatsby as a baby name seems problematic (Nancy from Nancy’s Baby Names specifically warns against it), it’s the name of an iconic Great American Dreamer who now has an Australian connection too.

Catherine is a variant of the name Katherine, from the Old French Caterine. Katherine comes from the Greek name Aikaterine, of debated meaning. The name became well known due to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a legendary saint whose tradition states she was a 4th century princess and scholar of exceptional beauty and intelligence who converted to Christianity as a young teenager, and refused to marry. She was tortured on a spiked wheel (the “Catherine wheel”) and martyred for her faith by beheading. There is no evidence she ever existed, and most likely is a composite figure of several women martyred in Alexandria at the time, with a few romantic touches added.

Christian writers connected her name with the Greek katharos, meaning “pure”, to reflect the saint’s virgin status, and the spelling of the Latin name was changed from Katerina to Katharina because of this false etymology. It’s not clear to me whether the original Greek Aikaterine was a name already in use, or made up by Christian authors. If invented, you would expect it to have Christian significance, but if so its origin has been lost.

Saint Catherine was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. There were shrines to her throughout France and England, and Saint Catharine’s College at Cambridge may have been founded in her honour as a patron of learning. She was especially venerated by young girls, who prayed for good husbands on her feast day of November 25. In France, women who hadn’t married by age twenty-five were called Catherinettes, and in English an unmarried woman was called a spinster, because Saint Catherine is a patron of spinners.

There have been several Queen Catherines in English history. One of the most popular was Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII. This Spanish-born queen was descended from an English royal house and named after her English great-grandmother; Catherine was considered very beautiful, with fair skin, blue eyes and reddish hair. She was learned, with a love of literature, and because of her, it became fashionable for women to gain an education. She was also pious, and won widespread admiration for her efforts to assist the poor.

There was great public sympathy for Queen Catherine; first for not being able to provide an heir, then because she was put aside by her husband (who went on to have five more wives). Catherine of Aragon sounds like a Saint Catherine come to life – paintings of the saint often depict her with red hair, and rich clothing suitable for royalty. The queen and the saint seem to have become entwined in the popular imagination, because some of Queen Catherine’s charitable works were attributed to Saint Catherine.

There could well be another Queen Catherine one day, because the Duchess of Cambridge will become queen consort when Prince William becomes king. As the Duke and Duchess are about to visit Australia, her name has been constantly in the news.

Catherine is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #25 in the 1900s, and peaked in the 1960s at #12. It left the Top 100 in the early 2000s, and reached its lowest point in 2010 at #268. It received a small boost in 2011 when William and Catherine were married, and in Victoria it is not far out of Top 100.

Catherine is a pretty, feminine name whose peak in the 1960s probably make it seem slightly dated, when in fact it is a timeless classic steeped in history, and still getting plenty of use without being popular. There’s something refined and regal about Catherine, yet it is unpretentious enough to sound like the girl next door. Catherine looks smart and professional on a CV, but has lots of cute nicknames, including Cathy, Cat, Catie and Cate.

The Top 100 Baby Names in New South Wales for 2013


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  1. Charlotte
  2. Olivia
  3. Amelia
  4. Chloe
  5. Mia
  6. Emily
  7. Isabella
  8. Ava
  9. Sophie
  10. Ruby
  11. Sophia
  12. Ella
  13. Sienna
  14. Grace
  15. Lily
  16. Ivy
  17. Zoe
  18. Matilda
  19. Isla
  20. Emma
  21. Evie
  22. Hannah
  23. Harper
  24. Scarlett
  25. Lucy
  26. Eva
  27. Zara
  28. Abigail
  29. Layla
  30. Georgia
  31. Sofia
  32. Isabelle
  33. Willow
  34. Imogen
  35. Annabelle
  36. Savannah
  37. Sarah
  38. Maddison
  39. Jasmine
  40. Jessica
  41. Audrey
  42. Madison
  43. Elizabeth
  44. Evelyn
  45. Stella
  46. Chelsea
  47. Alexis
  48. Mackenzie
  49. Ellie
  50. Alice
  51. Bella
  52. Mila
  53. Summer
  54. Lara
  55. Addison
  56. Lilly
  57. Victoria
  58. Violet
  59. Poppy
  60. Anna
  61. Claire
  62. Phoebe
  63. Lola
  64. Alyssa
  65. Maya
  66. Aria
  67. Madeleine
  68. Eloise
  69. Eliza
  70. Alexandra
  71. Holly
  72. Eden
  73. Indiana
  74. Aaliyah
  75. Molly
  76. Rose
  77. Piper
  78. Caitlin
  79. Elsie
  80. Isabel
  81. Penelope
  82. Mikayla
  83. Samantha
  84. Lillian
  85. Hayley
  86. Paige
  87. Amelie
  88. Olive
  89. Gabriella
  90. Ariana
  91. Emilia
  92. Skye
  93. Leah
  94. Ayla
  95. Jade
  96. Daisy
  97. Harriet
  98. Zahra
  99. Eve
  100. Indie

  1. William
  2. Oliver
  3. Jack
  4. Noah
  5. James
  6. Lucas
  7. Thomas
  8. Lachlan
  9. Cooper
  10. Liam
  11. Ethan
  12. Jacob
  13. Alexander
  14. Isaac
  15. Joshua
  16. Samuel
  17. Harrison
  18. Benjamin
  19. Mason
  20. Max
  21. Charlie
  22. Jayden
  23. Henry
  24. Daniel
  25. Hunter
  26. Ryan
  27. Oscar
  28. Levi
  29. Xavier
  30. Harry
  31. Riley
  32. Flynn
  33. Logan
  34. Sebastian
  35. Elijah
  36. Jackson
  37. Tyler
  38. Leo
  39. Archie
  40. Joseph
  41. Matthew
  42. Michael
  43. Zachary
  44. Adam
  45. Aiden
  46. Nicholas
  47. Patrick
  48. Hudson
  49. Jaxon
  50. Jake
  51. Braxton
  52. Christian
  53. Edward
  54. George
  55. Luke
  56. Hugo
  57. Eli
  58. Luca
  59. Nathan
  60. Chase
  61. Ashton
  62. Beau
  63. Blake
  64. Lincoln
  65. Dylan
  66. Marcus
  67. Hayden
  68. Finn
  69. Kai
  70. Archer
  71. Caleb
  72. Nate
  73. Toby
  74. Connor
  75. Ali
  76. Anthony
  77. Austin
  78. Louis
  79. Muhammad
  80. Jonathan
  81. Charles
  82. Angus
  83. Jordan
  84. Nathaniel
  85. Felix
  86. John
  87. Jasper
  88. Mitchell
  89. Dominic
  90. Owen
  91. Alex
  92. Ryder
  93. Aaron
  94. David
  95. Jett
  96. Darcy
  97. Bailey
  98. Gabriel
  99. Jesse
  100. Christopher


Biggest Risers
Lola (+23), Elsie (+22 at least), Imogen (+22), Ellie (+21), Penelope (+20 at least), Evelyn (+20), Aria (+19), Alexandra (+18), Lillian (+17 at least)

Biggest Fallers
Hayley (-34), Tahlia (-23 at least), Rose (-21), Kayla (-20 at least), Gabriella and Holly (-18)

New: Ariana, Ayla, Daisy, Elsie, Emilia, Harriet, Indie, Lillian, Penelope, Skye, Zahra

Gone: Amy, Angelina, Charlie, Elise, Heidi, Josephine, Kayla, Lauren, Mariam, Milla, Tahlia

Comment: Penelope hits the ground running to join yet another Top 100. Josephine’s great leap forward of 2012 turns out to be a statistical anomaly, while Lauren could not sustain her Olympian comeback.


Biggest Risers
Hudson (+26), Louis (+23 at least), Archer (+22), Austin and Muhammad (+20), Nathaniel (+17 at least), Ashton (+17), Felix (+16 at least)

Biggest Fallers
Dylan (-33), Beau (-22), Andrew (-21 at least), Angus (-21), Blake (-18)

New: Aaron, Felix, Jett, Louis, Nathaniel, Ryder

Gone: Andrew, Callum, Cameron, Hamish, Zac

Comment: Cooper and Liam inch their way up to join the Top 10, while Scottish names take a definite tumble. Fun royal baby name fact: George, Alexander, and Louis all rose in popularity!



Name Update: The Right Name Was Neither Arlo Nor Ari


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34.-ELIJAH-SSNRebecca and Daniel were having trouble agreeing on a name for their second son. Rebecca’s choice was Arlo, while Daniel’s was Ari, and they hoped to find a name that could meet them halfway.

Their little boy was born recently, and once he arrived, they decided on a name together very easily, which they both love. Their youngest son is


brother to Xavier.

Congratulations to Rebecca and Daniel for picking a handsome boy’s name that is a beautiful match with Xavier. I love that all their differences were resolved once they met their son, and it’s interesting that Elijah and Eli begin and end with vowels, just like Arlo and Ari.

Kim C suggested the name Elias, with the nickname Eli, which seems very close to the chosen name – thank you Kim!

(Sample name plate for Elijah from Alphabet Art Studio)



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