Famous Name: Forbes


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Famous Namesake
Just before the Summer Olympics started this year, we lost our oldest Olympian – Forbes Carlile, who was 95. Forbes was a scientifically-trained pioneer in elite swimming coaching, using many of the training methods we take for granted today in sports physiology and psychology, and writing the first book on modern competitive swimming.

Forbes was Australia’s first Olympian post-war swimming coach, and the youngest Olympic coach when he began at the age of 27. He was the Australian swimming coach at the 1948 and 1956 Olympic Games, and Scientific Adviser at the 1960 Olympic Games; he coached the Dutch team at the 1964 Olympics.

Swimmers coached by Forbes won 12 Olympic medals including 5 gold, and set 31 world records. His greatest success was at the 1973 Swimming World Championships, which produced nine Australian champions, and his most successful student was Shane Gould, who held six world records simultaneously when she was 15.

Forbes is the only person so far to have coached at the Olympic Games, and then gone on to compete at Olympic level. He was the first Australian to compete in the modern pentathlon at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where he came 25th overall and 10th in the swimming phase.

Forbes went on to receive many awards for his work as a coach and is in three sporting Halls of Fame, both in Australia and internationally. He and his wife Ursula were the first in Australia to open a commercial swimming school, still in operation.

A quote from Forbes Carlile demonstrates the thinking behind his success: Our aim is not to produce champions, but to create an environment where champions are inevitable.

Name Information
Forbes is a Scottish surname which comes from a place name in Aberdeenshire derived from forba, Gaelic for “field”. Clan Forbes claims to have owned land in this area since the 12th century, but the first Forbes on record is Duncan Forbes, in the late 13th century. The Forbes were raised to the Scottish Peerage in the 15th century, so the name has an aristocratic feel.

The name is well known in the United States, as members of the Scottish clan emigrated to America and became one of the wealthiest and most prominent in Boston. Politically influential, one of their best known members today is US Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry. Another Forbes from Aberdeenshire, of more modest origins, emigrated to the US later and is known for founding Forbes business magazine, famous for its rich lists, so either way this name signals money.

In Ireland, the surname Forbes can either be directly related to the Scottish name, as one of the aristocratic Forbes settled here in the 17th century, or can be an Anglicisation of the Gaelic name MacFearbhisigh, with the personal name Firbhsigh from the Celtic for “man of prosperity”. Whatever the origin, Forbes is a wealthy name.

The name is known in Australia from the New South Wales town of Forbes, named after the state’s first Chief Justice, Sir Francis Forbes. Sir Francis was related to the Scottish clan, and because of his family’s business links, had been educated in America and travelled there, which is said to be the source of his politically liberal views.

Forbes the town got bad reviews at first, with explorer John Oxley opining that it was impossible to imagine a worse country, due to the clay soil, poor timber, and swamps. Perhaps these weren’t mentioned on the brochure, as people did settle in the area. Everything changed when gold was discovered in 1861 and the population swelled by more than 30 000. A historic town, the bushranger Ben Hall met his end in Forbes, and Ned Kelly‘s sister Kate died a heroine here.

Forbes has been used as a personal name since the 18th century, where it was originally strongly associated with Scotland, but soon became much more generally used. In America, it was most commonly found in Boston. Although at first girls with the names Forbes weren’t particularly unusual, overall the name is overwhelmingly male.

Forbes is a very uncommon name. In the US, just 5 baby boys were named Forbes in 2015, while in the UK no baby boys are listed as having been given the name since 2008. I have occasionally seen Forbes used as a boy’s first name in Australia, but perhaps more often as a middle name. (This reminds me that a well known person with Forbes as his middle name is mathematician John Forbes Nash, of A Beautiful Mind fame).

Forbes is a rare surname name for boys redolent of success, wealth, power, nobility, and even long life. Although most of us like the idea of names which have positive meanings, namesakes and associations, some parents might feel that this one is almost too much. However, for a name with history and class behind it, Forbes is worth considering for your own future champion – at least in the middle.

(Photo from Carlile Swimming)

Name Update: The Name Sharing Sisters


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Hand holding a heart

Jenny and Sam were expecting a brother or sister for their son and daughter, and not only considering different names, but also thinking of how to co-ordinate two middle names if it was a girl.

Jenny and Sam recently welcomed their second daughter and have named her


baby sister to Tillie and Texas.

Saffy was their front-runner for a girl, while Lynda honours the memory of a beloved family member. In the end, Jenny and Sam chose Isabel as the first middle name because it is also one of Tillie’s middle names. Not only does Isabel sound good, but it provides a link with Saffy’s big sister.

Congratulations to Jenny and Sam on the birth of their third child! They have chosen a very sweet and pretty name with a meaningful name story.

Waltzing With … Rio


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Famous City
Today is the final day of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio – can you believe that London was already four years ago? This is the first time the Olympics have been held in South America, the first time the Summer Olympics took place in winter, and only the third time they have been hosted in the Southern Hemisphere. This was the first Olympics that a Refugee Olympic Team took part.

It’s been a rather controversial Olympics (although not as disastrous as the gloomy doomsayers predicted). However Rio has looked beautiful with its views of mountains and beaches, and the famous landmark of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the city and its surrounds. No wonder Rio is one of the most popular cities to visit in the Southern Hemisphere, and why Australian entertainer Peter Allen had to write a song about it!

Congratulations to all the Olympic athletes, and see you all in Tokyo in 2020!

Name Information
The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro means “River of January” in Portuguese, and received its name because Portuguese explorers first sailed into its bay on January 1 1502, mistakenly believing the harbour was the mouth of a river.

The city itself was founded in 1565, and first called São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro in honour of Saint Sebastian, the patron of the Portuguese monarch. Just as the São Sebastião got dropped, the city is now often known as simply Rio (“River”).

Rio has been used as an English name since the 19th century, although it is not always possible to tell from records whether Rio was the person’s nickname. It was given to both sexes, but mostly to males, and in the US may have been influenced by the great south-western river the Rio Grande, or various places named Rio.

In fiction, guys called Rio tend to be tough and gritty, rebellious and sexy, or even butch and bullying. Female fictional characters named Rio include the heroine of the YA undersea novel Atlantia: in the book, the characters all have names connected with water, so a name meaning “river” makes sense.

Rio is also a popular Japanese girl’s name. It can be translated in a variety of ways, including “white jasmine and cherry blossom”, and “village centre of cherry blossom”. An example of someone with the name is Japanese child star Rio Suzuki. You will find the name used fairly often in anime and manga, and confusingly, sometimes for male characters too – an apparent Anglicisation of the Japanese boy’s name Ryu, meaning “dragon”.

If you tend to think of Rio as a masculine name, it’s probably because in Romance languages an O at the end of a name usually signals it’s male – Rio even looks as if it could be short for Mario. Also, the English name River is more popular for boys, so it makes some kind of sense for Rio to be as well.

If you think of Rio as a feminine name, it might be because you’re an older parent or young grandparent, and you’re thinking of the song Rio by Duran Duran where her name is Rio and she dances on the sand. In the song, the girl’s name is linked to the Rio Grande; the band have said that Rio is a symbol of their love for the United States (originally the girl in the song was called Amy, short for America, but Rio sounded more exotic so Rule of Cool won out).

Rio isn’t an unusual name in the UK. It has charted for boys since the late 1990s, around the time English football star Rio Ferdinand began playing for the national team; he went on to captain his side. The name peaked in 2008 at #155, the year after Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography was published. The name Rio is now #213 for boys, and its popularity has almost certainly been influenced by Mr Ferdinand.

Rio also charts for girls in the UK, and before Rio Ferdinand became well known, was actually more common as a female name. This is a good example of how just one high-profile person can cause a less-common name to do a gender switch. Rio has only been in the Top 500 for girls once, in 1997 – ironically the same year Rio Ferdinand joined the English national side. In 2014, 11 baby girls were given the name Rio in the UK.

Rio is less popular in the US, but more common for boys there as well. In 2015, there were 103 boys named Rio, and 38 girls. Numbers are fairly stable for both genders, but it does seem to be gradually falling for girls, and very slightly rising for boys. I have seen Rio on both sexes in Australia, but more boys than girls.

Whether you think of it as inspired by the city, or the Rio Grande, or simply an exotic nature name, Rio is a cool and spunky name for both boys and girls. It will be interesting to see if this year’s Summer Olympics will help bring about an increase in babies named Rio.

(Picture shows a view of Rio’s harbour from Mount Corcovado)

Name Update: The Birthstone Baby


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Brooke and Ryan were expecting their third child in June. They had a few ideas in mind for a boy, and quite a few possibilities for girls – enough that it was hard to choose. Brooke wanted a traditional vintage-style that wasn’t too popular.

Brooke and Ryan welcomed their daughter late last month, and named her


a sister for big brothers Alexander and Charlie.

Pearl is the birth stone for June, while Florence is a family name. Brooke is very happy with the name they have chosen for their daughter, and absolutely loves it.

Congratulations to Brooke and Ryan on the birth of their daughter! What a beautiful meaningful name, and everything they hoped for.

Oakley and Jarrah


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Arthur Glyn and Alice Jane
Niamh Halden and Imogen Gertrude (Audrey)
Stevi Veronica Kim and Mya Patrice Poppy
Willow Blue and Laquilla Eve

Anri Yi
Aubrey Robyn
Camilla Elizabeth
Chiara Therese (Michael, Lucia)
Claire Eira
Daisy (Elvis)
Eden Skye (Dakota, Ivy)
Elizabeth Diana
Esra Mae
Florence Darby
Gabriella Molly
Harper Lee
Juliet Amy
Kirby Ro
Layla Romae
Livia Catherine
Lucille Evelyn
Marcella Margaret
Matilda Susan
May Marion
Minnie Violet
Morgan Paige
Oakley Lola Mary
Quinn Willow
Savannah Georgia
Scarlett Aurora
Sienna Valentina
Tessa Grace
Vivian Joan
Zivah Kaylee

Albie Alan
Alessio Josef (Mia)
Aron Rastus Leif
Benji Mou
Calvin Daniel
Charlie Tige
Ciwan Reece
Cohen Leonard
Colby Innes (Hamish)
Dexter David Roy
Felix Atticus
Fionn Samuel
Franklin George Leon
Freddy Charles
Gus Fairley (Louis)
Harry Royce
Harvey Rick
Jarrah John Stanislaw
Jasper Wyatt
Julian Valentine
Knox Joshua
Lawson William
Micah Rocco
Oliver Tate
Oscar Ernest
Paxton Robert
Ryker Arden (Ari, Jensen)
Theodore Desmond
True Stephen
Xavier Saul

(Jarrah forest in south-west Western Australia)

Celebrity Baby News: International Celebrity Babies


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American reality TV star Audrina Partridge, and her fiance, Australian dirt bike rider Corey Bohan, welcomed their first child on June 25 and have named their daughter Kirra Max. Audrina starred in the MTV reality TV series The Hills, and briefly had her own spin-off show, Audrina; she now hosts a late-night travel show. Corey has been a professional BMX dirt bike rider since 2002 and was the first athlete to win in three consecutive years at the X Games – in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He took part in one episode of The Hills, and met Audrina during filming. Kirra is a beach from Corey’s home state of Queensland, while Max is the current unisex darling for celebrities to choose for daughters.

Balinese actor Kadek Mahardika and his Australian wife Laura recently welcomed their second child and have named their son Lenny, a brother for Mila [pictured]. When he was born they couldn’t decide between Jordy and Lenny so they chose the name using the “rock scissors paper” method – apparently Laura’s choice won. Kadek is best known for his role of Ketut, Rhonda’s Balinese holiday romance in the popular “Rhonda and Ketut” series of advertisements for AAMI car insurance.

Hyphenated First Names from the WMTM 2015 Name Survey


The Roses

The Lees

The Mays

The Jades

The Janes

The Other Girls

The Boys

Celebrity Baby News: Radio, TV, and Social Media Babies




Radio host Michael “Wippa” Wipfli and his wife Lisa [pictured] welcomed their second child around June 19 and have named their son Jack Walter David, a brother for TheodoreTed“, age 16 months; Ted’s birth was featured on the blog. Michael is co-host of Fitzy and Wippa on Nova FM alongside Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald.

Television presenter Adam Dovile, and his wife Lisa Lamond, welcomed their first child a month ago and have named their daughter Arabella Jacqueline. Adam and Lisa won the second season of renovation reality show House Rules in 2014, and last year Adam became the DIY presenter on Better Homes and Gardens, winning a Logie Award this year for Best New Talent.

Reality TV participants Cassie and Ryan Thistleton welcomed their fourth child earlier this month and have named their daughter Mena Lee. Cassie and Ryan already have a young daughter named Emmerson, an older daughter from Cassie’s previous relationship, and lost a baby boy named Dex. Cassie and Ryan took part in the “spouse swap” show Seven Year Switch.

American plus size model Tess Holliday, and her Australian fiance Nick Holliday, welcomed their first child together on June 6 and have named their son Bowie Juniper; he is a brother for 10-year-old Rylee, Tess’ son from a previous relationship. Last year Tess became the largest plus-size model signed by a mainstream modelling agency; popular on Instagram for her positive body image campaign, she has been named one of the top plus-size models in the world. Nick is an artist and photographer who moved to the US to be with Tess after meeting her on social media.

Nirvana and Nova


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Ellie Isobel and Lucy Alice
Marshall Ben and Ava Rose

Adelaide Thamsin
Alexa Harper Lee
Avalea Jane
Cassidy Ruth (Matilda)
Charlotte Mavis Olive (Jessica, Amanda, twins Cody and Nathan, Elijah)
Ciera Ariane
Darcy April
Della Joan
Eliza Catherine (Olivia)
Elliot Poppy
Eloise Agnes
Elsa Jean Lillian
Emma Margo (Kate)
Evangeline Hope
Felicity Elizabeth (Lincoln)
Grace Betty
Hazel Adeline
Ilaria Estelle
Lily June (Bailey)
Lola Florence
Lucille Margaret (Finn, Evelyn)
Maelie Grace (Alistair)
Manea Jodiann
Océane Mélodie
Sai Ina
Savannah Valentine (Avangelena)
Taya Alice
Tess Raina
Ziggy Willow

Alexander Jesse
Arvie Joseph
Benjamin Asher Joel
Bodhi Silas
Boston Lennix
Bowen Erik
Carter Dudley
Evander Thomas
Hudson Alvin
Huxley Jacob
Jasper Anthony
Jensen William
Jye Patrick John
Laikyn James
Lucas Victor
Marcus Francesco
Max Teddy David
Nash Hunter
Nova George
Orlando Samuel
Oscar Rowan
Owen Lewis
Patrick Tracey
Quinn Connor
Ren Lupin
Ruben Vance
Seth Myles
Walter Frederick
William Jean Paul
Zachary Colton

(Photo shows Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania)


Name Update: It’s a … Boy!




Expat Aussies Maggie and Dan were expecting their third child, and weren’t quite sure what name to choose if they had a girl. They wanted a flexible professional yet cool name that would work in a non-English speaking environment, and also sound good with their daughters’ names.

As it happened, they welcomed a boy and his name is


brother to Zoe and Gemma.

Congratulations to Maggie and Dan on the birth of their son! Felix is an international choice which sounds perfect with Zoe and Gemma, and does seem as if it could happily suit either a rock star or a lawyer.


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