Anglo-Norman names, Anglo-Saxon names, Australian Aboriginal names, controversial names, english names, famous namesakes, French names, Gaelic names, historical records, Irish names, Italian names, Latin names, locational names, Lycian names, middle names, mottos, mythological names, name history, name meaning, name popularity, name trends, names of rivers, nicknames, Old English names, royal names, surname names, unisex names
Aveley is a neighbourhood of the town of Ellenbrook – an outer suburb in the north-east which is projected to be a future satellite city. Avely is named after a small town in Essex, where the Belhus estate was located: this stately home was once visited by Queen Elizabeth I, and had grounds landscaped in the 18th century by the famous Capability Brown. One of the early settlers to the Swan River Colony in 1829 was Edward Pomeroy Barrett-Lennard, the grandson of Lord Dacre, who owned Belhus. Edward Barrett-Lennard was assigned more than 13 000 acres in the Swan Valley, and his eldest son George purchased a large tract of land which he named Belhus after the family estate: it is this which eventually became Aveley. The name Aveley is Old English and means “Aelfgyth’s meadow”; Aelfgyth is an Anglo-Saxon woman’s name meaning “elf battle”. Avely is also a surname, and has been in rare use as a personal name since at least the 16th century. Historically more common for males, Aveley fits so well with current trends in female names that it seems more suitable for girls. Pronounced AV-uh-lee, this is a pretty, modern-sounding name with a feminine meaning and interesting history.
Carine is an affluent suburb 14 km north of the city. The area was once owned by the wealthy Hamsersley family, who came to the Swan River Colony in 1837, and before being developed in the 1960s, it was primarily used for farms and market gardens. The suburb’s name comes from the local wetlands, which are now known as Big Carine Swamp and Small Carine Swamp. Their names are a corruption of Careniup, the Noongar name for the wetlands, which means “the place where bush kangaroos graze”; it has the same origin as nearby Lake Karrinyup. The tranquil wetlands provide a home for rare water-birds and other native wildlife. Carine is already used as a girl’s name, the French form of Carina; it can be said in several different ways, but the Australian Carine is kuh-REEN. You would be hard pressed to find anything more Australian than “kangaroo” as part of a name’s meaning, and this is attractive, although perhaps slightly dated-sounding, due to its similarity to Karen, Caroline, and Corinne.
Floreat is an exclusive suburb 8 km north-west of the city, close to beaches and filled with parkland. As well as swanky boutiques, it is also well known for its sporting facilities, including Perry Lakes Stadium, which was used for the 1962 Empire and Commonwealth Games, and has now been replaced with the Western Australian Athletics Stadium. The suburb’s name is Latin for “let it flourish, let it prosper”, which is the official motto for the City of Perth (and has been fulfilled, for the city has grown rich on the back of the mining boom). Floreat has been occasionally used as a unisex name since the 18th century. In Australian records, it has mostly been used as a middle name, and examples from Perth may have been named for the city’s motto. In Australia, Floreat has been more commonly used as a girl’s name, due to its similarity to Florence, which has the same Latin origins and meaning. With Florence now fashionable, and girl’s names ending with a T sound, like Charlotte and Violet, popular, Floreat seems a surprising choice as a name, but not an outrageous one.
Jindalee is a new outer suburb in Perth’s far north. Because development has only just begun, the beaches are almost untouched, and it is surrounded by bush, scrub, and heathland. The name Jindalee is believed to mean “a bare hill” in an unknown Aboriginal language of New South Wales; there is a town of Jindalee in New South Wales, and a suburb of the same name in Brisbane. The name may refer to Eglinton Hill in Jindalee, which provides views of the sea. I only found one person in Australian records with the name Jindalee, and it was in the middle; although he was a man, to me Jindalee seems feminine, and could be shortened to Jinny or Jindy. This is a lively name which seems quintessentially Australian in its flavour.
Kiara is a quiet leafy suburb in Perth’s northern suburbs. Its name is from an Aboriginal word for “white cockatoo”, and it is not a Western Australian word, but one recorded in the Coffs Harbour region of New South Wales. The “white cockatoo” in question is probably the sulphur-crested cockatoo, a large, handsome, intelligent, curious, and very loud bird, native to the eastern states and far north of Australia. Australian parents seem to have a great fondness for girls’ names beginning with K, and this name sounds much like Italian Chiara, but with a distinctive Australian meaning. The name Kiara has charted since the 1980s, and first joined the Top 100 in 1999 at #67, peaking in 2005 at #49. It left the Top 100 in 2011, and is currently in the low 100s. It’s no longer popular, but still getting plenty of use.
Leda is one of the suburbs of the City of Kwinana, a coastal centre in Perth’s far south known as a working-class industrial area. Several of Kwinana’s suburbs are named for ships, and the brig Leda brought settlers to the Swan River Colony in 1830. The name was appropriate, because in Greek mythology, Leda was a queen of Sparta whose beauty attracted the attention of the god Zeus, who seduced her in the guise of a swan. Queen Leda didn’t have any unnatural interest in swans – the god-swan fell into her arms for protection while escaping from an eagle. Swans are one of the few birds which have a penis outside their body, like mammals do, and after this the specifics are left to our imaginations. Some artists and poets have depicted the act as a rape, while others show Leda as not just consenting, but positively enthusiastic. The same night, Leda lay with her husband, and from these biologically confused couplings, she gave birth to two eggs – one of which contained the ravishing Helen of Troy. Helen’s birth was commemorated by her father Zeus, who placed the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, in the sky. The meaning of the name Leda is not known for sure; it may be from the Lycian for “woman, wife”, and is pronounced LEE-duh. Simple and elegant, this is a name from Western Australian history which also references Perth’s Swan River.
Myaree is a light industrial suburb 11 km south of the city. Its name is said to come from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning “plant leaves, foliage, greenery” (rather inaptly, given the suburb’s purpose). Myaree has been used as a baby name, although not apparently in Australia: it may have been an Anglicisation of an Arabic girl’s name, or a name created from other name elements. Apart from the pleasant meaning of Myaree, and its multicultural possibilities, in many ways it seems quite on trend, because of popular Maya, trendy Marley, and fashionable Myra. In other ways, it seems slightly dated, because of its similarity to names such as Maree and Nyree. To me it’s rather appealing and contemporary, while not unfamiliar in sound.
Quinns Rocks is in the outer northern suburbs of Perth. It was first settled in the 19th century by a family of sheep farmers called the Clarksons, who used it as pasturage. In the 1930s it was a place for seaside holidays, with many people building beach shacks along the coast. It began to be developed as a residential area in the late 1950s, and was declared a town in the 1960s. The beautiful white beach is the suburb’s major feature, and still attracts holidaymakers. The suburb gets its name from an offshore reef, and is believed to have been called after Robert Quin, a 19th century government surveyor who made the first records of the area. Another theory is that it is named after Mick Quinn, one of the Clarksons’ shepherds who had a shack in the area. Why it should be named after this shepherd in particular is not related, and the congruence of names seems most likely. Quinn is a common Irish surname, an Anglicised form of the Gaelic mac Cuinn, meaning “son of Cuinn”. Cuinn (which is Anglicised to Conn) means “head, chief”. The surname’s originator is Art mac Cuinn, a High King of Ireland; according to legend, he and his father Conn of the Hundred Battles, also a High King, had dealings with a fairy woman. The Quins were one of the noble families of Ireland, but the line came to an end a few years ago. Quinn is rising rapidly as a unisex name, and currently seems to be almost equal between the genders, while also performing well as a middle name. Expect to see more Quinns in the future.
Serpentine is a small town on the very fringes of the metropolitan area, 55 km south-east of the city, on the railway line between Perth and Bunbury. The town is named after the nearby Serpentine River, so called because of its meandering course. Serpentine has been used sparingly as a name since the 19th century, and in Australian records is found mostly as a middle name, divided fairly evenly between males and females. Most of the Serpentines were from the Perth area, making me think they were named after the river. Serpentine is a problematic name, because while serpentine means “winding, curving” (like a serpent), it can also mean “crafty, deceitful”. The second meaning is an obvious allusion to the serpent in Genesis, who leads Eve into temptation. While this may give some people the jitters, serpents are also ancient symbols of wisdom and healing, and are often depicted guarding sacred places; a serpent holding its tail in its mouth is a symbol of eternity. In Australian Aboriginal myths, the Rainbow Serpent is a significant deity, symbolising life and fertility. Strong and mysterious, sinuous Serpentine may be easier to bear as a middle name.
Viveash is a secluded riverside suburb in the city’s north-west. It is named after Dr Samuel Waterman Viveash, a prominent pioneer who arrived in the Swan River Colony in 1838, and took up farming. Viveash is an English surname whose origins are disputed; it may be Anglo-Norman, and come from the French vivace, meaning “lively, vigorous”. However, because it is pronounced like “five ash” with a V instead of an F at the start, it is often linked to places in southern England called Five Ash Trees. Viveash has been used as a personal name for both sexes, almost exclusively found in the middle position. Examples from Australian records are all from Western Australia, and nearly all from the Perth area, making it likely they were named in honour of Dr Viveash. Viveash is a very unusual name, but is vaguely similar to Vivian and Ashley, while having a distinct sound and feel of its own.
The public’s favourite names were Quinn, Aveley and Leda, and their least favourite were Jindalee, Serpentine and Viveash.
(Photo is of the beach at Quinns Rocks)