Aussie Names: Big there, not here
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?
Allegra: Long a fashionable favourite, but in the United States the name of the allergy medication puts many people off – the same brand is called Telfast here. Luckily nobody wants to call their daughter Telfast.
Bridie: A pet form of Bridget, very familiar to us through popular actress Bridie Carter and in steady use. It doesn’t seem to have gained much affection elsewhere, perhaps due to concerns that it sounds like the word for a tiny bride.
Zali (ZAH-lee): Zali Steggall is our most successful alpine skier, and as far as I know, her name was created for her. It’s been hugely popular, and has brought forth numerous variants. It has the same “exotic yet accessible” feel as Zara.
Banjo: This has garnered much interest since Australian actress Rachel Griffiths chose it for her son’s name, in honour of our beloved national poet, Banjo Paterson. It probably sounds crazy to non-Australians. Okay, it even sounds alittle crazy to us sometimes.
Fergus: This is just starting to become a hip name for parents who don’t want to use long-time popular Angus. S-enders are fashionable right now, so this might have some appeal in America, where it brings the vintage nickname Gus.
Hamish (HAY-mish): The name of a popular comedian, Hamish Blake; it’s been Top 100 since the early 2000’s, and is also Top 100 in Scotland. Elsewhere, it may seem almost too comically Caledonian to be usable.
Lachlan (LOK-luhn): Governor Lachlan Macquarie is known as “The Father of Australia”, and his name has been in the Top 5 since the early 2000s. As Declan is rapidly climbing the US charts, perhaps Lachlan has a chance too.
Quade: A Gaelic surname meaning “son of Walter“; well known to us as the name of rugby union star, Quade Cooper. If you can get the image of Randy Quaid out of your mind, this could not only honour a family connection named Walter, but sounds like Cade, only more quool.
Rafferty: This raffish Irish surname honours iconic Australian screen legend “Chips” Rafferty, and has become a favourite as a celebrity baby name. Names starting with Raf- are currently quite big in Australia.
Tasman (TAZ-muhn): Dutch explorer Abel Tasman lent his name to Tasmania, and the Tasman Sea, and this name, long in use, has recently begun appearing everywhere. It’s a little like Thomas, and has the jazzy nickname Taz. What’s not to love?
Anna Otto is the blogger at Waltzing More Than Matilda, which examines Australian history and culture through its names. Much gratitude goes to Angela Mastrodonato, blogger at Upswing Baby Names, for contributing an American viewpoint on many of these names.