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Have you ever noticed that the official name data for your state or territory doesn’t always tally with your own experiences? Perhaps overall there were more baby girls named Mia in your state than anything else, and yet in your own town, every second person seems to be calling their new baby Ava, or Scarlett. You might even pick a name much further down the rankings, such as Jett, but when you rock up to the first day of kindy, there’s four other boys named Jett in your son’s class (plus two named Jhett).

If you’re interested in name popularity, it helps to keep a weather eye on the local conditions. The easiest way to do this is to read the birth announcements in your local paper, which is where the information on these towns and regional centres came from.

GEELONG

Boys

1. Oliver (#3)

2. William (#2)

3. Charlie (#18)

4. Harry (#19)

5. Archie (#37)

6. Xavier (#13)

7. Jack (#1)

8. Noah (#5)

9. James (#7)

10. Cooper (#11) and Oscar (#20)

Girls

1. Amelia (#8)

2. Olivia (#3)

3. Mia (#1)

4. Sophie (#11)

5. Chloe (#4)

6. Ruby (#2)

7. Matilda (#16)

8. Sienna (#7)

9. Willow (#39

10. Ella (#9), Emily (#12), Evie (#24), Milla (#35) and Zoe (#15)

BALLARAT [pictured]

A lady named Ruth Matthews has been collating name data from birth notices in “The Courier” since 1964, after the birth of her first child. Trends she has noticed include a wider pool of names (107 names for boys in 1965, compared to 235 in 2011), variant spellings of popular names, and unisex names. Mrs Matthews counts similar names as one.

Boys

1. Cooper (#11)

2. Harry (#19) or Harrison (#29)

3. Jack (#1) or Jackson (#30)

4. Oliver (#3), Will (-) or William (#2)

5. Thomas (#6) or Tom (-)

6. James (#7)

7. Max (#14) or Maxwell (-), Xavier (#13)

8. Lachlan (#10)

Girls

1. Ruby (#2)

2. Charlotte (#5), Lily (#10)

3. Mia (#1)

4. Grace (#14) or Gracie (-), Lucy (#17), Maddison (#43)

5. Isabella (#6), Olivia (#3)

6. Olive (#82), Chloe (#4), Evie (#24), Matilda (#16), Sophie (#11)

7. Addison (#54), Annabelle (#50), Chelsea (#38), Ella (#9), Emily (#12), Sienna (#7)

THE SOUTH-WEST REGION

They collated their names even more vaguely, counting Ava and Eva as the same name, as well as Pippa and Piper.

Boys

1. Harry (#19)
2. Charlie (#18), Oliver (#3), Thomas/Tom/Tommy/Tommie (#6)
3. Archie (#37)
4. Cooper (#11), Harrison (#29), Lewis/Louis (#96), William/Will/Wil (#2)
5. Harvey (#66), Lachlan (#10)

Girls

1. Isabelle/Isabel/Isobel/Isabella/Bella (#26/46/-/6/88)
2. Ava/Eva (#12/27), Grace (#14)
3. Emily (#12), Madison/Maddison (#30/43), Mia (#1), Zoe (#15)
4. Amelia/Amellia/Amalia (#8), Charlotte (#5), Pippa/Piper (-/#75), Sophie (#11)

Another way to keep track of local baby names is to contact the local hospital in your area, to see if someone makes a public record of the most popular baby names.

At Bacchus Marsh and Melton Regional Hospital, just outside Melbourne, the most popular name for girls was Ruby, and the most popular name for boys was either Lachlan or Ryan. Other popular girls names were Isabelle, Lilly, Olivia, Sienna, Zoe, Amelia, Ava, Ellie, Hayley and Matilda, and for the boys, it was Cooper, Jack, Thomas and Tyler. In Bacchus Marsh, Xavier, Jaxon and Ryder are considered unusual names.

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