Category: Australian names
February 17th is the birthdate of Andrew Barton Paterson, affectionately known as “Banjo” Paterson. He was named Andrew after his Scottish-born father, and his middle name Barton was a family name from his mother’s side; he was related to Edmund Barton, who would later become Australia’s first prime minister. Because he and his dad had the same name, Paterson went by his middle name, and was always known as Barty to his friends and family.
Paterson lived with his grandmother while he was attending the prestigious Sydney Grammar School, and she encouraged in him a love of poetry. He was 21 when he first began submitting poems to The Bulletin, under the pseudonym of “The Banjo” (sometimes shortened to a simple “B”). Full of fierce nationalism and a desire for a fairer society, he had some aspirations to write fiery polemic, and had even written a political pamphlet. However, The Bulletin had other ideas.
In the late nineteenth century, there was a movement towards the British colonies of Australia becoming one country, a feeling that Australia should be a united nation, and Australians a united people. In the effort to provide Australia with a unifying mythology that would instill nationalistic pride, it seemed that the Australian bush and outback would be the symbol to draw everyone together.
Australia and the United States share many popular names and name trends, but here are some examples familiar to us that have never made the US Top 1000. A few are popular in Australia, several are fashionable, rising in popularity, or well-used, and a couple are notable for becoming the choice of hip parents. But can any of these names make it in America? Some might just need a bit more exposure, while others are probably not as usable. Which do you feel strangely drawn to, and which simply bewilder you?
Baby Name Trends from Australia for 2012
Nameberry has brought us the Jack City
Jack has been Top 100 since the 1980s, and solidly Top 10 since the 1990s. Attempts to replace him with cutesy short forms such as Archie are going well, but nothing beats the blunt one-syllable nickname that sounds like a man rather than a boy. Hence we have names like Bill, Joe, Bob, Sid, Frank and Dan turning up in birth announcements, and spotted on celebrity babies too. They’ve got Depression-era chic – perfect for the current mood of global economic gloom. Can any of them become the new Jack though?
Even though Australian baby names are a lot like British names, they do also have their own distinctive flavor. The blend of cultures Down Under and the strong presence of several enduring indigenous languages and groups have a powerful influence on Australian baby names (the complex Aboriginal naming traditions definitely deserve a future blog of their own). Last year, for example, though Australia’s most popular list included Jack and Ella, Joshua, Ethan, Emily, Chloe and Mia, also high up on their list were Matilda, Isla, Lachlan (the name of Oz newspaper mogol Rupert Murdoch’s high-profile son), the Scottish-influenced Angus, and the nickname-name Archie.
Here are some from the world of sports:
And nameworthy names from the show biz arena:
PORTIA De Rossi
And what names do these Aussie celebs choose for their own their kids? Austarbabies include:
ADELAIDE — Rachel Griffiths
ALEXANDER — Naomi Watts
ANGELICA — Geoffrey Rush
AVA — Hugh Jackman
BANJO — Rachel Griffiths
BINDI — Steve Irwin
CHARLOTTE — Judy Davis
CHLOE — Olivia Newton-John
CHRISTIAN — Mel Gibson
DASHIELL — Cate Blanchett
FLYNN — Elle Macpherson
IGNATIUS — Cate Blanchett
KLAUS — Eric Bana
LILLIAN — Baz Luhrmann
LOUIS — Mel Gibson
MATILDA — Bryan Brown, Heath Ledger
MILO — Mel Gibson
OLIVE — Isla Fisher
OSCAR — Hugh Jackman
ROMAN — Cate Blanchett
ROSIE — Bryan Brown
SAGE — Toni Collette
SAMUEL — Naomi Watts
SATINE — Jacinda Barrett
SOPHIA — Eric Bana
SUNDAY — Nicole Kidman
TENNYSON — Russell Crowe
And there’s a whole lot more to Australian place names than South Australia capital city Adelaide. Here’s a selection:
We’d like to thank and acknowledge the imput of our Australian correspondent Alicia Polman, who alerted us to some interesting names and their backstories, and to the fact that “there’s more to Australian-esque baby names than Matilda and Jack.”