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165256Welcome to the Matilda Awards, where we discover which names featured on the blog proved most popular with the public during 2013.

Waltzing With … Category

The most popular names featured in the Waltzing With … Category were LAYLA, which scored a 94% approval rating, and SULLIVAN, which scored a 96% approval rating – not just the highest-rated name for the category, but the highest-rated for the whole year.

Layla is an Arabic name with a romantic history, both in Muslim literature and popular culture; it is comfortably established in the Top 50. Sullivan is an Irish surname used as a first name; it was #306 in Victoria for 2012, and is rising in both the US and UK.

Layla and Sullivan did well not because they were deeply loved by the public, but because so few people hated them – in fact not a single respondent said they disliked the name Sullivan.

Famous Names Category

The most popular names featured in the Famous Names Category were MIRIAM, which scored an approval rating of 91%, and HENRY, which scored an approval rating of 95%.

Miriam is an ancient Biblical name, the name of one of the strongest and most interesting Old Testament heroines; it is an underused classic which has never left the charts yet never reached the Top 100. Henry is an English name of Germanic origin, long known as a royal name (and was featured as the name of a visiting prince); it is a popular classic which is gently rising in the Top 50.

Miriam was praised for being both strong and intelligent, and pretty and feminine; people also noted its many nickname options. Almost nobody disliked the name Henry.

Name Themes and Lists Category

The most popular names which were featured in the Names Themes and Lists Category were ALICE and AUGUST. Alice won convincingly, and also managed to win the original poll, while August received almost twice as many votes as its nearest opponent.

Alice is an English name of Germanic origin which has been used by royalty and aristocracy; it is currently rising in the Top 50, and was one of the fastest-rising names of 2012. August is a German short form of Augustus which featured as a rare royal name from history; it does not chart in Australia, but is currently rising in the US and UK.

Celebrity Babies

The most popular names for celebrity twins were HARVEY AND ROXANNE WELLER ALLEN, the son and daughter of singer Toby Allen and actor Darren Weller. They were the only celebrity twin names to be judged “adorable” by a majority of people – quite an achievement as there were an unusually high number of celebrity twins last year.

The most popular celebrity baby girl name was TESS CLEMENTINE HUGHES, the daughter of comedian and broadcaster Dave Hughes, and journalist Holly Ife. She was picked as favourite by 20% of respondents, who loved her hip name. Tess has a big sister named Sadie, and a big brother named Rafferty – what a cool sibset.

The most popular celebrity baby boy name was SEBASTIAN TANDER, the son of champion racing drivers Leanne and Garth Tander. He was picked as favourite by 30% of respondents, who found his smooth, stylish name appealing. Sebastian has a big sister named Scarlett – a sleek modern sibset.

From the Baby Name Round-Ups, the winning baby names were FREYA ROSE GOWER and SAMUEL ELLIOT. Freya is the daughter of NRL player Craig Gower, and model Amanda Flynn, and the name Freya has recently become a favoured choice for sporting celebrities. Samuel is the son of national women’s team cricketer Sarah Elliot, and cricket coach Rob Elliot.

Birth Announcements

The most popular names for multiples were MAGNOLIA MARY AND HENRY JOSEPH, who had a narrow win. Readers of Waltzing More Than Matilda are a broad-minded lot, and don’t believe Mary and Joseph are “too matchy” for twins. Or maybe they couldn’t resist voting for Henry once more.

In the girls name section, ETTA JUNE had a very comfortable win. Vintage, hip and extremely cute, Etta fits in with popular names such as Ella.

In the boys name section, JUDE WINTER absolutely trounced the opposition, gaining a massive 40% of the vote. This is a very stylish name combination, with Winter working just as well on a boy as it does on girls. Etta and Jude came from the same set of birth announcements in July – both their middle names seem inspired by the winter season, and both have a JOO sound in their names. Magnolia and Henry came from another set of July birth announcements – a victory for midwinter babies!

The most popular names in a sibset were ELSIE, NED, TILLY AND GUS, which just scraped through by a couple of votes. A very charming vintage short form sibset, these sisters and brothers were featured the day after Anzac Day.

What type of names did people like? Quite a variety, but royal names, vintage names, classic names, short form names, popular and rising names seem like the big winners.

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