The Baby Name Explorer provides a way to browse through 110 years of the Top 1200 names in the state of New South Wales.

There’s two ways you can use it. The first way is just to scroll through the coloured graph on the website; the pink lines are girl names, the blue ones are boy names and the grey ones are unisex names. Aaron is at the top, and Zoe at the bottom. You can either find a name somewhere between Aaron and Zoe, and follow its fortunes through the years by moving across from left to right, or you can pick a period and move downwards to see what names were popular at a certain period.

For example, in the 1900s, William was the #1 name for boys, with 761 born each year, and Mary was the #1 name for girls, with 1150 born each year. (Leslie was the #1 unisex name). Some names from the 1900s are back in the charts, such as Ruby and Alexander, while Bessie and Clarence aren’t heard of so much these days.

The second way you can use it is to search for a particular name by typing it into the search bar. Once you do that, the name you ask for will come up alone on the chart in bright red and you see its popularity at various times.

For example, when I type in my own name, I can see that it wasn’t even in the Top 100 at the beginning of Federation, and didn’t become Top 100 until the 1950s. It was #55 in the 1970s, peaked in the 1980s, when it got to #39, and since then has declined until it is #71 today. Even though I wasn’t born in New South Wales, it’s still interesting information.

It’s obviously a great historical name resource, so thank you very much to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and to the Powerhouse Museum for supplying us with this database.