Famous Names: Annabelle


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On July 28, it will the 106th birthday of pioneering stateswoman Dame Annabelle Rankin, who was the first woman from Queensland to sit in the Parliament of Australia, the second female Australian Senator, and second female parliamentarian for the Liberal Party.

Annabelle was the daughter of Colin Rankin, a Scottish-born Queensland politician who served in both the Boer War and First World War; Annabelle was named after her mother. Her father encouraged her to travel, and when she left school, she went to China, Japan, England, Scotland, and continental Europe. With a background in community involvement, she worked in the slums of London, and with refugees from the Spanish Civil War.

Back in Australia, Annabelle was a volunteer during World War II, serving at air raid shelters and hospitals, and organised the YWCA’s welfare efforts for servicewomen. Her responsibilities involved travelling to military bases in Queensland and New South Wales, and she accompanied Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States of America, and Lady Gowrie, wife of the governor-general, on their visits to the troops.

After the war, she stood as a candidate for the Liberal-Country Party, and entered the Senate on July 1 1947. Annabelle was the first woman in the British Commonwealth to be appointed as an opposition whip, and was the whip in the Senate from 1951 to 1966.

Dame Annabelle was appointed Minister for Housing in 1966, becoming the first woman in Australia to administer a government department. As minister, she worked to provide housing for old age pensioners, and introduced a housing system for Aboriginal Australians and new migrants. As a newspaper of the time helpfully noted: “She tackles men’s problems too”.

After retiring from parliament in 1971, Dame Annabelle was appointed high commissioner to New Zealand – the first woman in Australian to lead a diplomatic mission. She supported several community organisations, including the Australian Red Cross Society, Country Women’s Association, Girl Guides, Victoria League, and Royal Commonwealth Society.

She was for many years the President of the Queensland branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and the Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for services to children’s literature in Queensland is given in her honour. Another of her namesakes is the Annabelle Rankin, one of the ferries on Sydney Harbour.

Dame Annabelle was easily recognisable from her auburn hair and warm brown eyes, and combined a cheerful, friendly demeanour with a strong, uncompromising will, and apparently tireless energy. She was an excellent orator, and very capable of handling the occasional heckler (by no means were all the hecklers male, either).

While researching the name Annabelle, I noticed quite a few people seemed to think that the name Annabelle sounded “unprofessional”, and predicted that a woman named Annabelle could never be taken seriously in public life. If nothing else, the career of Annabelle Rankin proves this to be completely untrue.

Annabelle is a variant of the name Annabel, which originated in Scotland during the Middle Ages. Although it is sometimes treated as a cross between Anna and Belle, this isn’t plausible as it pre-dates the common use of the name Anna in Scotland.

It’s assumed to be a variant of the Latin name Amabel, meaning “lovable” – the long form of Mabel, and close relation to familiar Amy. It may have been influenced by the name Agnes (“pure”), which was said (and often spelled) Annas at that time.

The Annabelle spelling probably has been influenced by Anna and Belle in the modern era, and is often understood as meaning “graceful and beautiful”. Although this isn’t very good etymology, the name is a bit of a hodge-podge, and you might feel free to translate it as you wish.

The names Annabel and Annabelle have long been favourites with the British peerage, both English and Scottish, which gives them a rather aristocratic air. I tend to feel that Annabel is a bit more “posh”, while others may think that the Frenchified Annabelle seems more stylish and “finished”.

Annabelle has charted in Australia since the 1970s, when it debuted at #580. Since the 1980s it has risen steeply, and it entered the Top 100 in 2000, at #92. It entered the Top 50 in 2007, when it reached #46, and although it wobbled a little here and there, it is now at the highest point it has ever been.

Currently it is #44 nationally, #35 in New South Wales, #50 in Victoria, #43 in Queensland, #47 in Western Australia, #61 in Tasmania, and #36 in the Australian Capital Territory.

Annabelle is also Top 100 and climbing in the US and the UK, but is more popular here than anywhere else, making Annabelle one of those unexpectedly Australian names. Annabelle is also Top 100 in New Zealand, but isn’t rising in popularity.

Annabel has charted in Australia since the 1960s, entering the rankings at #420, but while it also rose steeply during the 1980s, hasn’t become popular, and is still in the 100s. Annabel is only just outside the Top 100 in the UK, but is stable rather than rising, which is probably similar to the situation here. In the US, it is rising steeply, but only in the high 400s, so a long way off popularity.

Annabelle is a pretty, elegant, ultra-feminine name that’s well on its way to becoming a modern classic (while Annabel is already there). It fits in so smoothly with the trend for -belle and -bella names that it’s become quite popular, and may become more so.

Although it wasn’t originally linked to the names Anna and Belle, it might be used to honour people with those names, or similar names. Possible short forms abound, but all the the Annabelles I’ve ever met have only used their full name – it strikes me as one of those relatively long names that are somewhat nickname-resistant. There’s plenty to love about adorable Annabelle!

Thank you to Brooke for suggesting the name Annabelle to be featured on Waltzing More Than Matilda

(Photo is of Dame Annabelle Rankin)

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Name News: What Names Would You Choose For These Celebrity Twins?


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X Marks the Spot for Future Celebrity Twins
A reader named Alison has kindly sent in an interview with Shannon Bennett, head chef at Melbourne’s Vue de Mond and judge of the ABC Delicious Produce Awards. You may remember Shannon, and his wife, actress Madeleine West, as the celebrity parents of four children named Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, and Xanthe.

Shannon explains in the interview that Phoenix was named after the restaurant where he and Madeleine met (Fenix, in Melbourne). Hendrix was in honour of Jimi Hendrix, who Madeleine is a big fan of. By this time, they noticed that they were getting a theme of the letter X in their children’s names, and decided to run with it for their daughters Xascha and Xanthe. However, the big news is that Shannon and Madeleine are expecting twins in November!

Alison wants to know: what do you think the Bennett twins might be called, given that we know they will have the letter X prominently in their names?

We don’t know whether they will be two boys, two girls, or one of each; nor do we know whether they will continue the theme-so-far of names ending in X for boys, and starting with X for girls, or will they mix it up a little?

My guess is Felix and Xavier for two boys, and Ximena and Lux for two girls – I seem to be betting that they will mix up up the first letter-last letter theme for twins.

Post your suggestions for the names of the Bennett twins, and we’ll see if any of us came anywhere close in four months time!

Dad Won the World Cup Baby Name Bet
Sydney couple Kathleen Vrinat, and her fiancé William Porkert, put their future baby name up as a bet for the World Cup. Kathleen is a supporter of Argentina, while William supports the German team, and as both their teams made the Grand Final in Rio, they decided that whoever’s team was victorious would get naming rights to their first-born child.

William already has some ideas, and is considering using names from the German football team, such as Andre, Manuel, or Mario – he points out that Andre is unisex, so could be used for either a boy or a girl, while Manuela is a feminine form of Manuel. Sadly, nobody seems very keen on the name Manuela, including Kathleen.

Kathleen was so distraught when she found out Germany won that she was sent home from work as her constant crying was distracting her colleagues. She says she will follow through with the bet, although she is now considering delaying having children. William hopes she’ll put the second child’s name up on a bet too.

The Rugby League Baby
Mother of seven Kirstie Nowland was watching her son Ivi at a junior rugby league game when her contractions started. She had had several dreams about giving birth at a football game, but her mother Kim dismissed them, putting them down to constant football attendance and the baby being overdue. Kirstie didn’t want to leave before the game finished, but it seemed that if she didn’t call for an ambulance soon, the baby would be born in the stands.

She was taken to Blacktown Hospital and gave birth 30 minutes later, but was upset she hadn’t got to see her son score before she left. The first thing she asked Ivi when she saw him was whether his team won, and he reassured her, “Yes mum; I scored, and we flogged St Mary’s 54-4″. Being a good rugby league mum, she knew that was the only thing that mattered.

Ivi plays for the Western City Tigers, and in honour of the triumphant team, Kirstie called the new baby Tiga Lilly. Tiga has a very memorable name story.

Sued Because of Her Baby’s Name
Baby name theft is a topic that gets bandied about a lot, but it’s very serious when a business believes that their “baby name” has been stolen. Canberra mum Neda Lutekic has a toddler named Zara, and when she started her own line of baby clothing, she named it Zarabumba after her little girl. Multinational fashion retailer Zara has now launched legal action against her, even though her inspiration wasn’t the store, but her daughter. Be careful that your baby’s name doesn’t sound like a big company before using it as inspiration for your own business.

There’s An App For That
Practical Parenting magazine has a gallery of baby naming apps you can download from iTunes. The most intriguing is one you can only test if you are actually pregnant, because it allows your unborn baby to pick its own name by registering its level of “enthusiasm” for each name from its movements. It doesn’t sound very scientific, but does sound fun, and you’ve got the perfect comeback if your child complains about their name in the future.

Thank you to Alison for the information on the forthcoming Bennett twins – all Australian baby name news gratefully accepted!

Perth Suburbs That Could Be Used As Boys Names


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Ashby is a residential northern suburb, first developed in the late 1990s. It is named after the original landowner, Mr E.E. Ashby, who lived here before World War I. Ashby is a surname which means “farm among the ash trees” in a mixture of Old English and Old Norse; it is more common in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and the East Midlands, which have a history of Scandinavian influence. Ashby has been used as a name for boys since the 17th century, and seems to have been especially popular amongst Puritan families. The town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire was an important centre for Puritan preaching and education, which may be an inspiration for the name. Ashby isn’t rare in Australian records, although more common as a middle name, and has occasionally been given to girls. I saw this is a boy’s middle name in a birth notice, and thought this might make an appealing Ash- name for boys, which seems more obviously masculine than Ashley. Unfortunately, it could easily be confused with Ashley too.

Bentley is 8 km south of the city, and is the location of the main campus of Curtin University. The area has been settled since 1830, and was developed in the post-war period with government housing, including homes for returned servicemen. Today Bentley is very varied: it has a light industrial area, but part of it is still used for grazing. The suburb is named after John Bentley, a veteran of the Crimean War who arrived in the Swan River Colony as a pensioner guard, and supervised convicts building what is now the Albany Highway. Bentley is a surname after the common English place name, meaning “bent-grass meadow”; bent-grass refers to rushes or reeds. Bentley has been used as a boy’s name since the 17th century, and has recently leaped up the charts in the United States to become a Top 100 name. Its jump in popularity is attributed to a baby named Bentley on reality show 16 and Pregnant. In Australia, Bentley is around the high 100s, which is still a lot more popular than it is in the UK. People often connect the name to the luxury car company, founded in 1919 by W.O. Bentley.

Bertram is a new suburb of the City of Kwinana, in Perth’s south (for more information, see Leda in Perth Suburbs That Could Be Used As Girls Names). It is named after an assisted migrant from the 1920s, who came here under the group settlement scheme. Bertram is a Germanic name which means “bright raven”; it was introduced to Britain by the Normans. A famous Australian namesake is Sir Bertram Stevens, who was Premier of New South Wales in the years before the Second World War. Bertram has been quite a popular name in fiction, including the main character of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Unfortunately, Bertram is not, on the face of it, a very sympathetic character, although he gets his regulation happy ending anyway. Another fictional Bertram is Bertie Wooster, from P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves books; a good-natured idler, this Bertram is not without charm, although perhaps not the most sturdy namesake. The short form Bertie would be very cute though.

Carlisle is south of the CBD, and close enough to offer views of the city. Originally farmland, it was developed in the late 19th century, and is a fairly typical older suburb. The name Carlisle was chosen by the suburb’s ratepayers, who called it after the northern English city of Carlisle in Cumbria. Their logic was that just as Cumbrian Carlisle is famously near the border between England and Scotland, so was Australian Carlisle right on the border between the city of Perth and its suburbs. However, it is interesting to note that one of the landowners at the time was named Carlisle; it is possible his surname put the idea in the ratepayers’ minds. Carlisle is an ancient city which was one of the most heavily fortified towns of pre-Roman Briton: its name means “stronghold of the god Lugus”. Lugus was one of the most prominent of the Celtic gods, and the Romans identified him with Mercury, as he was known as a god of trade and skill. Carlisle has been used as a boy’s name since the 18th century, and was originally used most often in Cumbria. It has recently received some interest since the name was chosen for one of the more sympathetic vampires in the Twilight series.

Falcon is one of the suburbs of Mandurah, a coastal city 45 km from Perth, within the metropolitan area. It is popular with tourists and retirees, making it the least affordable city in Australia. Falcon has a number of beaches, and is named after Falcon Bay, which is pronounced FAWL-kin, rather than FAL-kin – an earlier English pronunciation of the word. Falcon was a yacht whose crew won a silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, and many of Falcon’s streets are named for yachts. Falcon has been used as a boy’s name since medieval times – there is even an obscure St. Falcon, and Falcon was the middle name of Antarctic explorer Robert Scott. The name may be from the Latin Falco, meaning “falcon”, or derived from the Germanic name Fulco, meaning “people”. I did find a few Falcons born in Australia, and for some reason they were nearly all South Australian. In Australia, this name will remind people strongly of the car, the Ford Falcon, and perhaps also the slang term in rugby league for being accidentally hit in the head by the ball. I’m not sure whether the pronunciation will make any difference.

Murdoch is in the south, and the home of Murdoch University. The university is named in honour of Sir Walter Murdoch, a former chancellor of the University of Western Australia, and its founding Professor of English. Sir Walter was a essayist famous for his wit and intelligence, and an active proponent of international peace and justice, political freedom, women’s rights, and affordable childcare. His great-nephew is the media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The surname Murdoch is the Anglicised form of two Gaelic personal names that became conflated with one another, and were written as Muireadhach. One name was Muiredach, meaning “mariner”, and the other was Murchad, meaning “sea warrior”. Muireadhach was a traditional name amongst the Earls of Monteith, and Murdoch has seen particular use in their seat of Perthshire. Murdoch is commonly found in Australian records amongst Scottish families, but although we have enthusiastically embraced Lachlan, Murdoch has been less successful. Fun fact: Murdoch was an early name crush for a particular Australian blogger, which makes you wonder if this could have been a contender without the prominent Murdoch family.

Samson is a small suburb of Fremantle, a southern port city in the Perth metropolitan area. The suburb was only developed in the 1970s, as before this it had belonged to the army, and was a military camp during World War II. The suburb is named after the Samson family, who have been prominent in the Fremantle area for nearly two centuries. Sir Frederick Samson was mayor of Fremantle for twenty years, from the 1950s to the 1970s, and his home, Samson House, is one of Fremantle’s landmarks. The suburb of Samson contains Sir Frederick Samson Park, Fremantle’s only bush reserve. Sir Frederick was the grandson of Lionel Samson, a wealthy Jewish merchant who settled in the Swan River Colony in 1829 and became one of its most successful pioneers. Popular for his charm and wit, respected for his integrity, the business he founded is still run by the Samson family, making it Western Australia’s oldest family business. Samson is one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament, a judge of the Israelites known for his superhuman strength. His name is from the Hebrew for “man of the sun”, leading some scholars to suspect he was originally a sun god, or demi-god. Samson was in use as an English name during the Middle Ages, and there is a Welsh St Samson, one of the Apostles of Brittany. This is a very masculine name which provides another way to get the popular short form Sam.

Sawyers Valley is on the eastern fringe of Perth’s outer suburbs, and 40 km from the city. Its name came about because it was originally a saw mill and timber processing area. It’s now a semi-rural suburb in the bush-covered hills surrounding Perth. Sawyer is an occupational surname for someone who sawed wood for a living – and in the days when most things were made of wood, an important trade. Sawyer has been used as a personal name since the 17th century, mostly as a male name. In Australian records, I can only find it as a man’s first name, although not unusual as a female middle name. Sawyer doesn’t chart in Australia, but has been in the US Top since 1991; it had a huge jump up the charts after Steven Spielberg chose the name for his son in 1992. In America, it is a unisex name, but more common for boys. Although it is in rare use here, I have seen it a few times, on both sexes. Its most famous namesake is Tom Sawyer, the young scamp from the stories by Mark Twain, while it has also been alias for Josh Holloway’s character on Lost.

Stirling is a residential suburb 10 km north of the city. The area has a multicultural history, because in the 1920s it attracted retired Chinese miners from the goldfields, returned servicemen from the First World War, and many Italian migrant. It became a successful market gardening region producing almost every vegetable possible, some for export. Even after development in the 1960s and ’70s, the suburb remains one of Perth’s most ethnically diverse, with a third of the population having Italian heritage, and many from Macedonian, Greek and Asian backgrounds. The suburb is named after James Stirling, who was the first governor of Western Australia, and who lobbied for a colony to be founded on the Swan River. Stirling is a Scottish Clan name which comes from the city of that name in central Scotland; it is known as the “Gateway to the Highlands”. The meaning of its name is not known, although folk etymology says that it is from the Gaelic for “place of battle”. Another theory is that it is British, and means “dwelling place of Melyn”; the name Melyn is said to mean “yellow-skinned, sallow-skinned”. Stirling has been used as a boy’s name since the 18th century, and was first used this way in Stirlingshire. I have seen this name quite a few times in birth notices, and it’s one with a great deal of dignity.

Warwick is in the northern suburbs of Perth, and a large section of it is still native bushland. It originally belonged to a railway company, and is named after Warwick Road, the major road which goes through it, and pre-dates the suburb’s development. It may have been inspired by Warwick Road in London. The name Warwick comes from the English city of Warwick in the Midlands; its name means “dwellings by the weir” in Old English, as the River Avon flows through it. It’s pronounced WOR-ik. The Earl of Warwick is one of the most prestigious titles in the British peerage, and Guy of Warwick a legendary English hero, which may help explain why Warwick has been used as a boy’s name since at least the 16th century. However, it seems to have originated in Devon, in the seat of a family named Warwick who belonged to the minor nobility. Warwick first charted in the 1910s at #203, joining the Top 100 in the 1940s, where it peaked at #80. It left the Top 100 in the 1960s, and hasn’t charted since the 1990s. Famous Australians with this name include the racing driver Warwick Brown, and flamboyant former AFL star, Warwick Capper.

(Photo shows the entrance to Sir Frederick Samson Park, in Samson)

Ethel and Humphrey


Wibke and Eva (Lotte)

Adriana Grace (Kristian, Sebastian)
Amalie Brigitte Joy (Cadel)
Aurora Alice (Malachy)
Cherise Lila May (Xander)
Elizabeth Patricia (William)
Ethel Rose
Evelyn Jemima Matilda
Fleur Mollie
Freya Lea (Jai, Byron)
Harper Storm (Kailee)
Isla Niamh (Ava)
Josie Eloise (Louis, Hugo)
Julia Margaret (Thomas)
Keely Jane
Lenni Milla (Poppy)
Livana Jessica
Lucy Skye
Mabel Florence (Isla, Olive)
Matilda Belle (Harry, Madi, Poppy Mae)
Natasha Zoe
Sadie Frances (Annabelle)
Stevie Emerson
Tiarna Lacie
Tulli Winter
Velvet (Indie)

Angus Blake (Claudia, Oscar)
Archie Kenneth
Axel Patrik (Viola, Joakim)
Baylen Thomas
Chester Kevan (Finn)
Finn Louis
Fred Benjamin
Grayson Eli
Henry Randolph (Maggie, Clementine)
Huey Gregory (Summer)
Humphrey John
Jasper James (Tallulah)
Jimmy Frank (Holly, Jed, Will)
Lincoln Desmond
Marshall Phillip
Myles Nolan (Calvin, Hayden)
Ollie Ryan
Owen Reyney
Rory Martin
Samuel Francis (Oliver)
Skyler Sean (Hunter Peach)
Tate Ross (Angus, Elsie)
Thomas Alan Noel
Tobias Harvison (Benjamin, Madeleine, Annabelle)

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

(Photo of snowman from Facebook page of Mansfield Cottage in Barrington Tops, in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales)

Celebrity Baby News: NRL Babies



Greg Inglis and his wife Sally welcomed their first child on June 3, and have named their son Nate Alexander. Greg has been playing professionally since 2005, and is currently signed with the South Sydney Rabbitohs; he also plays for the national team, and for Queensland’s state team, and has twice been named to play as one of the Indigenous All-Stars. Greg was hailed as a future NRL star while still a schoolby, and has won numerous awards, including the International Player of the Year in 2009. Greg is the cousin of NRL player Albert Kelly, who has also been a celebrity dad on the blog.

Former rugby league player Danny Wicks, and his partner Fiona, welcomed their first child on July 6 and have named their son Clay Gordon. Clay was born 12 weeks premature, and weighed only 1.5 kg (3lb 3oz); he required emergency surgery to survive, and will be in hospital for a while. Danny played for the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons, but his career was put of hold while he served an 18 month prison sentence for drug trafficking. Having done his time, and his four-year ban from the game now over, Danny will be returning to the NRL next year, and has already had offers from several clubs.

Liam Fulton and his wife Stacey welcomed their daughter Mackenzie at the end of last year. Liam began his career in 2003 with the Wests Tigers, and also had a stint in the UK playing for the Huddersfield Giants. He has played for City Origin, and the NRL All Stars. Liam retired from playing earlier this month, after suffering persistent memory problems from being knocked unconscious in round one of this season, and having a history of concussion. A popular player known for his practical jokes as much as his club loyalty, Liam will be employed by the Wests Tigers in some capacity.

Celebrity Baby News: Yumi Stynes and Martin Bendeler




Media personality Yumi Stynes, and her husband Martin Bendeler, welcomed their first child together at the end of May and have named their daughter Mercy. Yumi has two daughters named Anouk and Dee Dee from a former relationship with musician Ben Ely, and these are Mercy’s big sisters.

Yumi has worked in the media since 2000, beginning as a television presenter on Channel V Australia after winning her job as part of Channel V Reporter Search. She was a regular co-host on Channel Ten’s morning show, The Circle, has presented a number of television specials, and appeared as a panellist on shows such as Spicks and Specks, and Can of Worms. Last year she co-hosted the Tropfest short film festival presentation on SBS. Yumi has also worked as a radio host, and last year she was part of an all-female team on Mix 106.5 FM’s breakfast program. She regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines, often on film, music and lifestyle. Yumi has been featured as a celebrity mum on the blog.

Martin is originally from England, and is the director of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative Australia. He and Yumi were married in 2012, and last year they renewed their vows on radio.

(Photo from news.com.au)

Celebrity Baby News: Louise Momber and Rob Scott


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Journalists Louise Momber and Rob Scott welcomed their first child on June 24, and have named their daughter Ivy Elizabeth. Ivy Scott was born at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco, Perth.

Louise is a weekend news presenter for Channel Nine, and Rob is a news reporter for Channel Seven. The couple were married in 2012, and spent their honeymoon in Mauritius.

Ivy is a name that Louise and Rob had on their shortlist, and when their daughter was born, it suited her at once. The middle name Elizabeth is in honour of Louise’s mother, who passed away in 2012. Sadly, Louise lost both her parents to cancer within months of her wedding.

Perth Suburbs That Could Be Used As Girls Names


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quinns rocks beach

Aveley is a neighbourhood of the town of Ellenbrook – an outer suburb in the north-east which is projected to be a future satellite city. Avely is named after a small town in Essex, where the Belhus estate was located: this stately home was once visited by Queen Elizabeth I, and had grounds landscaped in the 18th century by the famous Capability Brown. One of the early settlers to the Swan River Colony in 1829 was Edward Pomeroy Barrett-Lennard, the grandson of Lord Dacre, who owned Belhus. Edward Barrett-Lennard was assigned more than 13 000 acres in the Swan Valley, and his eldest son George purchased a large tract of land which he named Belhus after the family estate: it is this which eventually became Aveley. The name Aveley is Old English and means “Aelfgyth’s meadow”; Aelfgyth is an Anglo-Saxon woman’s name meaning “elf battle”. Avely is also a surname, and has been in rare use as a personal name since at least the 16th century. Historically more common for males, Aveley fits so well with current trends in female names that it seems more suitable for girls. Pronounced AV-uh-lee, this is a pretty, modern-sounding name with a feminine meaning and interesting history.

Carine is an affluent suburb 14 km north of the city. The area was once owned by the wealthy Hamsersley family, who came to the Swan River Colony in 1837, and before being developed in the 1960s, it was primarily used for farms and market gardens. The suburb’s name comes from the local wetlands, which are now known as Big Carine Swamp and Small Carine Swamp. Their names are a corruption of Careniup, the Noongar name for the wetlands, which means “the place where bush kangaroos graze”; it has the same origin as nearby Lake Karrinyup. The tranquil wetlands provide a home for rare water-birds and other native wildlife. Carine is already used as a girl’s name, the French form of Carina; it can be said in several different ways, but the Australian Carine is kuh-REEN. You would be hard pressed to find anything more Australian than “kangaroo” as part of a name’s meaning, and this is attractive, although perhaps slightly dated-sounding, due to its similarity to Karen, Caroline, and Corinne.

Floreat is an exclusive suburb 8 km north-west of the city, close to beaches and filled with parkland. As well as swanky boutiques, it is also well known for its sporting facilities, including Perry Lakes Stadium, which was used for the 1962 Empire and Commonwealth Games, and has now been replaced with the Western Australian Athletics Stadium. The suburb’s name is Latin for “let it flourish, let it prosper”, which is the official motto for the City of Perth (and has been fulfilled, for the city has grown rich on the back of the mining boom). Floreat has been occasionally used as a unisex name since the 18th century. In Australian records, it has mostly been used as a middle name, and examples from Perth may have been named for the city’s motto. In Australia, Floreat has been more commonly used as a girl’s name, due to its similarity to Florence, which has the same Latin origins and meaning. With Florence now fashionable, and girl’s names ending with a T sound, like Charlotte and Violet, popular, Floreat seems a surprising choice as a name, but not an outrageous one.

Jindalee is a new outer suburb in Perth’s far north. Because development has only just begun, the beaches are almost untouched, and it is surrounded by bush, scrub, and heathland. The name Jindalee is believed to mean “a bare hill” in an unknown Aboriginal language of New South Wales; there is a town of Jindalee in New South Wales, and a suburb of the same name in Brisbane. The name may refer to Eglinton Hill in Jindalee, which provides views of the sea. I only found one person in Australian records with the name Jindalee, and it was in the middle; although he was a man, to me Jindalee seems feminine, and could be shortened to Jinny or Jindy. This is a lively name which seems quintessentially Australian in its flavour.

Kiara is a quiet leafy suburb in Perth’s northern suburbs. Its name is from an Aboriginal word for “white cockatoo”, and it is not a Western Australian word, but one recorded in the Coffs Harbour region of New South Wales. The “white cockatoo” in question is probably the sulphur-crested cockatoo, a large, handsome, intelligent, curious, and very loud bird, native to the eastern states and far north of Australia. Australian parents seem to have a great fondness for girls’ names beginning with K, and this name sounds much like Italian Chiara, but with a distinctive Australian meaning. The name Kiara has charted since the 1980s, and first joined the Top 100 in 1999 at #67, peaking in 2005 at #49. It left the Top 100 in 2011, and is currently in the low 100s. It’s no longer popular, but still getting plenty of use.

Leda is one of the suburbs of the City of Kwinana, a coastal centre in Perth’s far south known as a working-class industrial area. Several of Kwinana’s suburbs are named for ships, and the brig Leda brought settlers to the Swan River Colony in 1830. The name was appropriate, because in Greek mythology, Leda was a queen of Sparta whose beauty attracted the attention of the god Zeus, who seduced her in the guise of a swan. Queen Leda didn’t have any unnatural interest in swans – the god-swan fell into her arms for protection while escaping from an eagle. Swans are one of the few birds which have a penis outside their body, like mammals do, and after this the specifics are left to our imaginations. Some artists and poets have depicted the act as a rape, while others show Leda as not just consenting, but positively enthusiastic. The same night, Leda lay with her husband, and from these biologically confused couplings, she gave birth to two eggs – one of which contained the ravishing Helen of Troy. Helen’s birth was commemorated by her father Zeus, who placed the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, in the sky. The meaning of the name Leda is not known for sure; it may be from the Lycian for “woman, wife”, and is pronounced LEE-duh. Simple and elegant, this is a name from Western Australian history which also references Perth’s Swan River.

Myaree is a light industrial suburb 11 km south of the city. Its name is said to come from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning “plant leaves, foliage, greenery” (rather inaptly, given the suburb’s purpose). Myaree has been used as a baby name, although not apparently in Australia: it may have been an Anglicisation of an Arabic girl’s name, or a name created from other name elements. Apart from the pleasant meaning of Myaree, and its multicultural possibilities, in many ways it seems quite on trend, because of popular Maya, trendy Marley, and fashionable Myra. In other ways, it seems slightly dated, because of its similarity to names such as Maree and Nyree. To me it’s rather appealing and contemporary, while not unfamiliar in sound.

Quinns Rocks is in the outer northern suburbs of Perth. It was first settled in the 19th century by a family of sheep farmers called the Clarksons, who used it as pasturage. In the 1930s it was a place for seaside holidays, with many people building beach shacks along the coast. It began to be developed as a residential area in the late 1950s, and was declared a town in the 1960s. The beautiful white beach is the suburb’s major feature, and still attracts holidaymakers. The suburb gets its name from an offshore reef, and is believed to have been called after Robert Quin, a 19th century government surveyor who made the first records of the area. Another theory is that it is named after Mick Quinn, one of the Clarksons’ shepherds who had a shack in the area. Why it should be named after this shepherd in particular is not related, and the congruence of names seems most likely. Quinn is a common Irish surname, an Anglicised form of the Gaelic mac Cuinn, meaning “son of Cuinn”. Cuinn (which is Anglicised to Conn) means “head, chief”. The surname’s originator is Art mac Cuinn, a High King of Ireland; according to legend, he and his father Conn of the Hundred Battles, also a High King, had dealings with a fairy woman. The Quins were one of the noble families of Ireland, but the line came to an end a few years ago. Quinn is rising rapidly as a unisex name, and currently seems to be almost equal between the genders, while also performing well as a middle name. Expect to see more Quinns in the future.

Serpentine is a small town on the very fringes of the metropolitan area, 55 km south-east of the city, on the railway line between Perth and Bunbury. The town is named after the nearby Serpentine River, so called because of its meandering course. Serpentine has been used sparingly as a name since the 19th century, and in Australian records is found mostly as a middle name, divided fairly evenly between males and females. Most of the Serpentines were from the Perth area, making me think they were named after the river. Serpentine is a problematic name, because while serpentine means “winding, curving” (like a serpent), it can also mean “crafty, deceitful”. The second meaning is an obvious allusion to the serpent in Genesis, who leads Eve into temptation. While this may give some people the jitters, serpents are also ancient symbols of wisdom and healing, and are often depicted guarding sacred places; a serpent holding its tail in its mouth is a symbol of eternity. In Australian Aboriginal myths, the Rainbow Serpent is a significant deity, symbolising life and fertility. Strong and mysterious, sinuous Serpentine may be easier to bear as a middle name.

Viveash is a secluded riverside suburb in the city’s north-west. It is named after Dr Samuel Waterman Viveash, a prominent pioneer who arrived in the Swan River Colony in 1838, and took up farming. Viveash is an English surname whose origins are disputed; it may be Anglo-Norman, and come from the French vivace, meaning “lively, vigorous”. However, because it is pronounced like “five ash” with a V instead of an F at the start, it is often linked to places in southern England called Five Ash Trees. Viveash has been used as a personal name for both sexes, almost exclusively found in the middle position. Examples from Australian records are all from Western Australia, and nearly all from the Perth area, making it likely they were named in honour of Dr Viveash. Viveash is a very unusual name, but is vaguely similar to Vivian and Ashley, while having a distinct sound and feel of its own.

(Photo is of the beach at Quinns Rocks)

Oliver Hendrix and Presley Jackson




Aanjali Ruby (Chandani)
Blair Georgia
Ciana Rose (Cristiano, Isabella)
Eloise Constance
Elvie Lee (Nova, Tex)
Francesca Maisie (Milly)
Hallie Narelle
Grace Marguerite (Evie)
Ivy Nice
Jenna Cailin (Lucas)
Leyre Gil
Lotti Aster
Maeve Veronica (George)
Nellie Kathryn
Quinn Mika (Sienna, Maya)
Saisia Michelle (Rivah)
Sophie Wilma (Charlie, Grace)
Taylor Elizabeth
Violet Joyce (Lilyth)
Zola Maree

Alfie Mac
Blaine Lucas (Kellan, Eamon)
Clem Matthew (Lenny, Herb)
Felix Oliver (Arthur)
George Valentino (Nectarios, Marcos)
Hunter Lukey (Tayah Jane)
Jeriah Joseph
Kasper Louis (Felix)
Linken Glen
Morgan Kai (Indiana)
Myles George Leonard (Isabella, Edwina)
Nash John (Rusty, Stella)
Oliver Hendrix
Presley Jackson
Raphael Matteo
Rayne Ari (Indiana, Faith)
Ted Patrick (Locky)
William Chappie (Charlie Finley, Hugo Paul)
Xavier Winton

(Picture shows Jagger Alexander-Erber, an 11-year old who was a finalist on Australia’s Got Talent, and recently named Australia’s best drummer under 21; photo from the Daily Telegraph).

Celebrity Baby News: Denise and Mark Duffield-Thomas




Author and business coach Denise Duffield-Thomas, and her husband Mark, welcomed their daughter Willow on February 22. Willow arrived a week early just as her mother was preparing to give a business presentation on Skype, and despite this eagerness to be born, she is such a relaxed baby that they call her “Chillow Willow”.

Denise is the author of Lucky Bitch: A Guide for Exceptional Women to Achieve Outrageous Success, and the CEO of LuckyBitch.com. Mark is the commercial director of the Newcastle Jets Football Club. Denise and Mark attempted the Guiness World Record for “most married couple”, and have been married 87 times in more than a dozen countries. (The current world record for a single couple to be married is 107 times, I think).

The name Willow seems to be giving newspapers problems deciding gender, because the headline for Willow’s birth suggested she was a boy named Willow. Meanwhile, singer Wes Carr has a son named Willow, and stories about him in the press regularly mention his “daughter Willow”.


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