Three Channel Nine news presenters welcomed babies in the first months of the year. Most were announced on Channel Nine’s Instagram page. There seems to be something in the water cooler, because last year Channel Nine news staff welcomed no less than eight babies.
Wendy Kingston and her husband David Thompson welcomed their son Sam at the end of January, a brother to Joshua, aged 2. Wendy is a presenter on the afternoon bulletin, Nine News Now, and David is a financier.
Amelia Adams and her husband Luke welcomed their first child in March, and have named their son Charlton Blair. Amelia is a presenter on Nine Morning News and Nine Afternoon News, and Luke is a cameraman and photographer.
Amber Sherlock and her husband Chris recently welcomed their son Zachary James, a brother to Piper, aged 4. Amber presents the weather on Nine News Sydney, and is the Friday presenter on Nine News Now.
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”.
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.
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.
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)
NRL footballer Tariq Sims, and his partner, model Ashleigh Sudholz, welcomed their first child on March 1 and have named their daughter Lakia Kai. Tariq has played for rugby league team, The North Queensland Cowboys, since 2011, and has also represented New South Wales Country and the national team of Fiji, which he qualified for through his Fijian mother. Tariq’s name was featured on the blog. Ashleigh is an award-winning swimwear model who specialises in promoting sportswear.
A-League footballer Matt Smith, and his wife Aicha, welcomed their third child on March 18, and have named their daughter Isla Evelyn. Isla Smith joins big sister Ava, aged 5, and big brother Owen, aged 2; Owen’s birth was announced on the blog. Matt is the captain of Brisbane Roar FC.
(Photo shows Tariq and Ashleigh before Lakia’s birth)
Model and TV presenter Kelly Landry, and her husband, accountant and skipper Anthony Bell, welcomed their second child on March 26, and have named their daughter Thea Elizabeth. Thea Bell joins big sister Charlize, aged 2; Charlize’s birth was announced on the blog.
Actor Chris Hemsworth, and his actress wife Elsa Pataky, welcomed twin boys on March 18, and have named their sons Tristan and Sasha. Tristan and Sasha Hemsworth join big sister India, nearly 2; India’s birth was announced on the blog.
The twins are the first members of the family to be born in America, as they arrived at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. India was born in London, while Elsa is Spanish, and of course Chris is Australian.
Last month, on Valentine’s Day, actor Samuel Johnson broke a world record by riding a unicycle more than 15 000 km on a zig-zagging route across Australia for 364 days. How did it all start? His sister Constance set him the toughest challenge she could think of. It started as a joke, and turned into a promise.
You see, Sam’s beloved sister Connie has cancer. She has fought it three times in her life, beginning from the age of 11, but now she is dying, and doesn’t have much time left. So Samuel promised he would raise a million dollars towards breast cancer, with his unicycle challenge dubbed Love Your Sister.
So far he has raised almost 1.5 million dollars for breast cancer research through the Garvan Institute, and plans to work full time for the charity. Even better, Connie’s cancer is stable, and her oncology team are surprised and very pleased with how well her treatment is going. They say there is a good chance she still has a year left, maybe more.
The reason I chose to cover this story, apart from the chance to record a key moment in unicycling history, and because I had been looking for an opportunity to feature the name Samuel, is because of the wonderful sibsets involved. Connie has two small boys named Willoughby “Wib” and Hamilton. Samuel’s two sisters are Constance and Hilde.
Samuel is a character from the Bible whose story starts before he is even conceived. His mother Hannah was barren, and prayed for a baby in the doorway of a religious shrine, vowing that if her prayer was answered, she would dedicate the child to God. A priest of the shrine named Eli heard her, and offered a blessing, suggesting that her prayer would be answered. Hannah gave birth to a son that she named Samuel; in fulfilment of her promise, she gave Samuel to Eli once the child was weaned (about the age of three).
Eli brought Samuel up to work in the shrine, where he proved a devoted and highly intelligent assistant. While still a child, Samuel woke up in the night to hear a voice calling his name. Thinking it was Eli calling him, he went to ask him what he wanted. After this happened a few times, Eli realised that it was God calling Samuel, and instructed him in how to respond, so he could hear the word of God.
God’s first message turned out to be a piece of unwelcome news for Samuel’s mentor Eli, because it was foretold that both his sons, who were corrupt priests, would come to a bad end. During Samuel’s youth, the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines, who took control of the land and ransacked the shrine. During the conflict, both of Eli’s sons were killed, and the old man, now blind and about ninety, died of shock when he heard the report.
Samuel became publicly recognised as a great prophet and seer, and after twenty years of oppression, he organised the Israelites into an army and led them in battle against the Philistines. There was a decisive victory for the Israelites, and for many years afterwards there was peace in the land. Samuel became a judge of the Israelites, and all went well for ten years, until the people demanded a king to rule over them instead. Samuel (after warning everyone what a terrible idea having a king was) anointed both Saul and David as the first and second kings of Israel.
Samuel was the last judge and the first prophet of the Hebrews, and the founder of a kingdom. He is revered in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and regarded as a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox faiths.
Samuel is the English form of the Hebrew name Shemu’el. The Bible tells us that the name Samuel means “asked of God”, which Hannah chose to indicate that Samuel was an answer to her prayer. However, this is not correct, and is rather the meaning of the name Saul. It would seem that the names of the first prophet and first king have got confused, and perhaps even their narratives have too.
Samuel can be translated as either “heard by God”, or “hearer of God” – the first one to suggest that Hannah’s prayers were heard and answered by God; the last one to signify his role as prophet. It can also be understood as “son of God”, which makes sense as Samuel was raised from early childhood in God’s shrine.
Although in some use in Britain in the late Middle Ages, Samuel became far more common after the Protestant Reformation. Famous English Samuels include lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson, satirical poet Samuel Butler, and diarist Samuel Pepys. Samuel was one of the very earliest English names to travel to the American colonies, and famous American Samuels include Samuel Adams, one of the founding fathers of the United States, Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse code, and Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as the beloved author Mark Twain. The United States itself even became personified as a Samuel – Uncle Sam.
Samuel is a classic name which has never left the charts. It was #46 for the 1900s, and dropped out of the Top 100 during the 1930s. It reached its lowest level in the 1960s at #164, but was back in the Top 100 by the 1970s. It was #14 for the 1990s, and since then has remained extremely stable, hovering around that position.
Currently it is #12 nationally, #20 in New South Wales, #15 in Victoria, #12 in Queensland, #18 in Western Australia, #11 in Tasmania, #16 in the Northern Territory, and #14 in the Australian Capital Territory. It is of similar popularity in the UK and the US, and is a Top 100 name in many countries, making this a very international name.
Samuel is a handsome name which has strength, but also softness. A timeless classic, it is currently at its historic height of popularity, and has been stable for decades, making it a very safe choice. It is so commonly used around the world that it has no particular image attached to it. That means that when it comes to picturing a Samuel, he could be any age, of any appearance, and be anything; an athlete, writer, doctor, traveller, builder, or prime minister. The short form Sam is commonly used as a full name for boys, and is currently only just outside the Top 100.
Retired rugby league footballer Alan Tongue, and his wife Katie, welcomed their fourth child about a month ago, and have named their daughter Lola. Lola joins big sisters Becky, aged 8, and Heidi, aged 6, and big brother Gem, nearly 3; Gem’s birth was announced on the blog. Alan played his entire decade-long career with the Canberra Raiders, where he made captain, and retired in 2011.
Basketballer Michelle Cosier, and her husband Simon, welcomed their second child on February 27, and have named their son Levi Jackson. Levi joins big brother Brodie, aged 4. Michelle has played for the Canberra Capitals for several years, and hopes to make a comeback to the WMBL next season. Simon runs a sportswear company, and is also a basketball referee.
(Photo shows Alan Tongue holding his daughter Lola, who he has just signed up as a Canberra Raider member; Canberra Raider Jack Wighton holds Lola’s brother Gem)
Former reality television contestants Jessica Zinna and Matthew Gallagher welcomed their first child in September last year, and named their son Jax [pictured].
Jessica was a contestant on Beauty and the Geek, and Matthew was an eligible bachelor on The Farmer Wants a Wife. Although neither found love on their respective dating shows, they met by chance at a Melbourne nightclub in 2012, and formed an instant connection. The couple now live on Matthew’s potato and cereal crop farm in Waubra, just outside Ballarat, and are planning to marry.
Mayor of Ballarat, Joshua Morris, and his wife Louise, welcomed their fourth child on February 12, and have named their son Xavier Alan. Xavier Morris was born six and half weeks early at the Epworth Freemasons Hospital in Melbourne, and weighed 2.3 kg (5 lb). He will be staying in St John of God Hospital in Ballarat until he is bigger and stronger. He joins big brothers Will, aged 4, and Isaac 3, and big sister Charlotte, aged 1.
Joshua was elected to the role of mayor last November, and has taken a year’s leave from his job as physical education teacher at Darley Primary School.
Former Canberra radio host Lisa Ridgely, and her partner Daniel Box, welcomed their first child on Australia Day, and have named their son Lachlan James. Lachlan Box was born at Calvary Hospital in Canberra, and weighed 3.02 kg (6lb 6oz).
For many years, Lisa was a popular breakfast presenter on Mix 106.3, and she now works at the PR firm Morris Walter. Daniel is the venue manager at Ainslie Football Club.