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Amity Point is a small town on North Stradbroke Island, 30 km south-east of Brisbane. The town is named after the Amity, a brig which carried the first European settlers to Queensland in 1824. The Amity was later wrecked near Tasmania, and today you can visit a full-size replica of the brig in Albany, because the Amity also took colonists to Western Australia. Amity is an English word which means “friendship”; it comes from the same Latin root as names such as Amy and Amabel, and has been used as a girls name since the 17th century. Amity is #551 in Victoria, and I often see it in birth notices: I think this pretty virtue name is gaining in popularity, and may become a replacement for Amy.
Bethania is in Logan City, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The suburb was founded by Germans in the 19th century, and has a large hobby farm area. The name Bethania comes from Bethanien, the German name for the town of Bethany near Jerusalem. In the New Testament, Bethany is mentioned as the home of siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and is said to be near the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead. The Biblical Bethany may be the same place as the city of al-Eizariya in Palestine – its name means “place of Lazarus”, although others say that the original village of Bethany was slightly higher up on the Mount of Olives, and that al-Eizariya sprung up around the traditional site of Lazarus’ resurrection. The meaning of Bethany has been much debated, but it is thought the most likely derivation is from the Aramaic beth anya, meaning “house of affliction, house of suffering”, with the conclusion being that it was a place for care of the sick and destitute. Although Bethania doesn’t have any connection to Elizabeth or Anne, it might seem like a way to connect these two names, and does give both Beth and Anya as nicknames.
Cashmere is an outer suburb of Brisbane in the foothills of a mountain range surrounded by dense forest, with a nearby lake. Cashmere is named after an early settler, James Cash, famous for his hospitality to passing travellers. Although Cash was not wealthy and lived in a simple shanty, no tramp ever passed his door without receiving a meal or a pot of tea. Because mere means “lake”, and James Cash’s farm was near Lake Samsonvale, the suburb’s name can be understood as “Cash’s land by the lake”. Cashmere is also a fine, high quality fibre taken from Cashmere goats. The name is after the Kashmir region of India, which has been making cashmere shawls for thousands of years. Kashmir’s name comes from the great sage Kashyapa, a legendary wise man whose name is from the Sanskrit for “tortoise”. With Cash a fashionable choice for boys, luxurious Cashmere seems like a way for girls to get the nickname Cash as well. In Australian records, both men and women named Cashmere can be found.
Corinda is an older suburb of Brisbane, first settled in the 1860s as a farming community, and with many of its homes dating back to the colonial period. The name Corinda is believed to come from a local cattle station, which was named after a pastoral station in outback Queensland. The name is of Aboriginal origin, but its meaning is not known. Corinda has been used as an English girls name since the 18th century – perhaps based on the Greek name Kore, meaning “maiden”, with an elaborated ending common in 18th century poetic names like Melinda and Dorinda. This name seems elegant and literary, and not so different from familiar names such as Lucinda.
Inala is a suburb of Brisbane near the industrial estates. It was built in the post-war period to help with the housing shortage that followed World War II, and was one of the earliest and biggest Housing Commission projects in Queensland. Young architects such as Robin Boyd helped design the housing, which features simplicity and lack of ornamentation. In other words, it isn’t pretty, but cheap and efficient to install and maintain. It has an ethnically diverse community, with many migrants from Vietnam, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, amongst other places, settling there. The name Inala is believed to come from an Aboriginal expression meaning “peaceful place, happy place”, but it’s possible it actually means “place of the wind”. I saw a baby girl named Inala in a birth notice early this year, and ever since have been itching to cover this as a name – said ih-NAHL-ah, it fits in with names such as Ayla, Nyla, and even Isla.
Karalee is a suburb of Ipswich; originally dairy and farm country, it began to be developed for residential purposes in the 1970s. It is thought that Karalee comes from an Aboriginal expressing meaning “grass around a waterhole”, although the City of Ipswich prefers the translation, “pretty hill beside the water”. This looks like a portmanteau of Kara and Lee, but has its own integrity, and is said KAR-a-lee, like an elaboration of Carol.
Laceys Creek is a rural area in the outer suburbs of Brisbane, and was first settled as timber country, soon followed by dairy farming, pineapples, bananas, and bee-keeping. Lacey is an English surname of Norman-French origin. It comes from the village of Lassy in Normandy, which means “Lascius’ place”. The meaning of the Gaulish name Lascius is of unknown meaning. The de Laci family came to England with William the Conqueror, and one of their descendants was amongst the barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. Lacey has been used as a girls name since the 17th century, and part of its feminine charm is that it sounds like the word lacy. Lacey is #234 in Victoria, and I believe this is another pretty girls name which is growing in popularity.
St Lucia is an exclusive green and leafy inner-city suburb of Brisbane. It is focused around the University of Queensland, with the university itself, and residential colleges for students, taking up a large proportion of the suburb. There are many wealthy people living in St Lucia, with riverfront houses here costing in the millions. The area was first settled in the 1860s as sugar plantations, and was given its name by William Wilson, who bought and developed one of the plantations for housing in the 1880s. Wilson was born in St Lucia in the West Indies, and he named the housing estate St Lucia because the sugar plantations reminded him of his birthplace. The island of St Lucia is in the Caribbean, part of the Lesser Antilles group. It was named in honour of Saint Lucy by the French, who were the first European settlers to the region. Saint Lucy was a 4th century martyr, and she has become a popular saint, partly because her feast day of December 13 is near Christmas and originally coincided with the (northern hemisphere) Winter Solstice. Her name’s meaning of “light”, from the Latin lux, became a very appropriate one for a Festival of Light, heralding the Light of the World. Lucia has charted since the 1940s and had a minor peak in the 1960s at #283 before dropping to #808 in the 1990s. Since then it has climbed steeply, and peaked in 2010 at #115. Currently it is #122 in New South Wales and #177 in Victoria. This is an alternative to Lucy that has never become popular, although on the charts since the end of World War II.
Ripley is a suburb of Ipswich, which currently has only 1000 residents. However, big things are planned for Ripley’s future, and once fully developed it is expected to be a city of 120 000 – one of the country’s largest pre-planned communities. It is named after the Ripley Valley where it is located; I am not sure if this is after someone named Ripley, or one of the towns named Ripley in England. The surname Ripley is from Ripley in Yorkshire – the town’s name means “farm whose land cuts a strip through the forest”, with the forest in question being the forest of Knaresborough. One of the most famous Ripleys must be Robert Ripley, who created Ripleys Believe It or Not! trivia series for newspapers, radio and television. The name may also remind you of tough Lieutenant Ellen Ripley from the Alien film series, played by Sigourney Weaver, or suave con artist Tom Ripley, from the crime novels, turned into a film, The Talented Mr. Ripley, played by Matt Damon. I have seen this name on both sexes.
Sinnamon Park is an older suburb with some heritage-listed sites; the suburb is named for the pioneering Sinnamon family who settled in the district. Sinnamon is a Scottish surname; the Clan originated in Fife, and their name comes from their seat at Kinnimonth, which was granted to them by King William of Scotland. The name Kinnimonth comes from the Gaelic for “head of the hill”. Sinnamon sounds like the sweet spice Cinnamon, but has its own meaning and history – although the Sin- at the start may be problematic for some. I did find someone named Sinnamon from Queensland in the records, but can’t be sure whether they were male or female.
POLL RESULT: People’s favourite names were Amity, Lucia, and Bethania, and their least favourite were Inala, Sinnamon, and Karalee. Not one person liked the name Karalee.
(Photo shows the University of Queensland in St Lucia)