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Campbell

This is a Scottish surname, which was originally a Gaelic nickname, Caimbeul, meaning “wry, twisted or crooked mouth”. A p was later added to the spelling in the belief the name was from the French for “beautiful field”. I suppose that meaning seemed a lot more appealing. The Clan Campbell was one of the largest and most powerful of the Highland clans, and the chief of the clan became Duke of Argyll. There are many prominent Australians with this surname. Campbell is #60 in Tasmania, which is very proud of its Scottish heritage, and has a historic town called Campbell. Campbell is on the US Top Top 1000, but only as a girl’s name. As a boy’s name, it has appeared only sporadically, peaked in 1885 at #700, and hasn’t been seen there since 2005.

Darcy

An English surname, from a French place name meaning “town of the bear”, which was introduced by the Normans as the surname of one of William the Conqueror’s barons. It can also be interpreted as an anglicised form of a Gaelic surname meaning “son of the dark one”, and this is a more likely origin in Australia. Although romantics cannot help connecting this to Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the most famous Australian with this surname is probably Les Darcy, the folk hero boxer. There are a number of notable Australian men called Darcy, including D’Arcy Niland, the roving novelist, Darcy Ward, the motorcyclist, Darcy Lussick, the rugby league player, and Darcy Dugan, the notorious bank robber. As you can see, although Darcy is unisex, it’s a very manly name here, and only Top 100 for boys. It’s #94 in New South Wales, #57 in Victoria, #97 in South Australia, #75 in Tasmania and #54 in the ACT. Darcy as a male name hasn’t been on the US Top 1000 since 1970, and it peaked in 1968 at #868.

Eamon

The Irish form of Edmund, this is pronounced AY-muhn. It’s use today is probably influenced by the sprint swimmer Eamon Sullivan (pictured). An Olympic athlete, Eamon is not only a good-looking underwear model, he also proved he was a fantastic cook by winning Celebrity Master Chef. Little wonder that he then went on to claim Cleo‘s Bachelor of the Year Contest. It’s #71 in the ACT, and has never charted in another country.

Flynn

An Irish surname meaning “son of Flann”; the name Flann means “red” and was the name of a 9th century Irish king. In Australia, it’s most strongly associated with the Tasmanian-born Hollywood film legend, Erroll Flynn. His name was bestowed upon Disney prince Flynn Rider in honour of Erroll Flynn, as the character has much in common with the actor. As this name has been given to Miranda Kerr and Orlando’s Bloom’s son, Flynn Christopher Bloom, I can see it gaining further in popularity. It’s #94 in Victoria, #79 in Tasmania and #80 in the ACT. It’s never charted in another country.

Hamish

This is the anglicised form of Seumas, which is the Scottish form of James; it’s pronounced HAY-mish. Its current popularity is almost certainly due to a well-known comedian who stars on both radio and television, called Hamish Blake. Multi-award winning, he was recently voted the most recognisable celebrity, and will be included in this year’s issue of Who’s Who. The name is #60 in New South Wales, #49 in Victoria, #45 in South Australia, #28 in Tasmania and #34 in the ACT. Hamish only just made it onto the list – it’s only recently left the Top 100 for Scotland.

Jai

A Hindi name which means “victory”, it can apparently be pronounced either JAY or JY. Jai has been in use in Australia since the 1970s. Jai Abberton is a former pro surfer who is a member of the notorious Bra Boys Gang. Jai Koutrae is an actor who’s appeared in several popular soap operas. Jai Ayoub plays rugby for Western Harbour. Jai Larkan is the lead singer of folk-rock band, The Wishing Well. Jai Taurima is a retired athlete who won silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Lots of guys called Jai! It’s currently #98 in Victoria and #95 in South Australia. It only ever seems to have charted in Australia.

Jed

The short form of the Hebrew name Jedidiah, which means “beloved of Yahweh”. In the Bible, this was a term of endearment given to King Solomon by the prophet Nathan. In use in Australia since the 1980s, there are a number of athletes with this name, including AFL player Jed Adcock (who this year welcomed a daughter named Lily Rose). There’s also some rock singers with the name Jed, including Jed Kurzel, who did the music for the film Snowtown. It’s #99 in Tasmania, whose rural population seems suited to the rustic charms of this name. Jed was on the US Top 1000 from 1947-1989; it peaked in 1978 at #481.

Lachlan

This is a Highland Scottish name from the Gaelic Lochlann, which was used as a nickname for someone from Norway – “the land of the lochs (lakes)”. It’s pronounced LOHK-luhn. There was a strong relationship between the neighbouring lands of Norway and Scotland during the Middle Ages, as both battled for control of the Western Isles of Scotland. There were diplomatic missions between the two nations, and even intermarriage between the royal houses. The name Lachlan has a long history in Australia, owing much to Lachlan Macquarie, a British military officer from the Hebrides who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1810-21, in the period when it was transitioning from a penal colony to a free settlement. He therefore played a major role in the shaping of Australian society, and his liberal views toward ex-convicts and lavish expenditure on public works had a great impact on New South Wales. There are 30 places in Australia named after him, and 6 named after his wife, Elizabeth; on his tomb in Scotland he is called “The Father of Australia”. (American readers may be interested to know that he fought very successfully during the American War of Independence – on the British side of course). When media magnate Rupert Murdoch chose Lachlan as his eldest son’s name, he was perhaps drawing on his own Scottish heritage and honouring a great man from Australian history. Forty years later, this name is still going strong, and there is another generation of well-known Lachlans giving it new impetus, such as soap actor Lachlan Buchanan, and fullback for the Penrith panthers, Lachlan Coote. The name is #6 in New South Wales, #13 in Victoria, #5 in South Australia, #5 in Queensland, #12 in Tasmania and #3 in the ACT. It’s never charted in any other country.

Nate

A short form of Nathan, which is a Hebrew name from the verb “to give”; it can be interpreted as “given”, in the sense that God has given a child. Less persnickety baby name sites often interpret it as meaning “gift”, or “gift from God”, which is a more user-friendly way of putting it. The short form has proved very popular here recently, and I can’t help wondering if that’s partly because Australian baby name sites sometimes list Nate as meaning “little gift”, which I think is taking looseness of interpretation a bit far! Nate has a similar level of popularity to Nathan, and if you’re wondering why I don’t mention Nathaniel as a source of Nate, that’s because it’s not well enough known here to have a nickname yet. A famous Nate is Nate Myles, who plays for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL. It’s #60 in Victoria, #52 in South Australia, #44 in Western Australia, #58 in Tasmania and #50 in the ACT. It’s never charted in any other country.

Taj

An Arabic name meaning “crown”, it’s probably best known from the Taj Mahal in India, the name meaning “crown of buildings”. Taj Burrow is an Australian surfer, and as he’s from Western Australia, it’s not surprising that the name is #42 in that state. Taj has only been on the US Top 1000 twice, in 1976 and 1998, and never got higher than #951.

Zac

The short form of Zachary, the English form of Hebrew name Zechariah, meaning “Yahweh remembers”. In the New Testament, Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist. This seems to have done particularly well as a full name here. It’s been around long enough to have some famous Zacs already, such as Zac Dawson, who plays for St Kilda in the AFL, and Zac Drayson, an actor on the popular soap opera, Home and Away. American actor Zac Efron probably isn’t doing it any harm either. Early this year, V8 ute racer Craig Dontas named his second son Zac Michael. It’s #76 in New South Wales, #52 in Victoria, #77 in South Australia and #80 in Tasmania. It hasn’t charted in any other country.

Close But No Cigar

These names don’t make the top 1000 in the United States, but do chart in countries besides Australia

Angus – #75 in Scotland

Archie – #24 in England/Wales, #43 in Scotland

Reuben – #67 in N. Ireland, #71 in England/Wales

Tom – #10 in France, #18 in Belgium, #38 in Netherlands, #62 in Ireland, #93 in N Ireland

Harvey – #47 in England/Wales

NOTE

Please also read Girls Names That Only Chart in Australia, as it contains information relevant to this blog entry. Since then, the 2010 list for England/Wales has been released.

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