Australian Baby Names: What’s up down under

Today’s guest blogger, Aussie Anna Otto, tells us what she sees ahead for Australian baby names in 2012.

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?

Names with Ever-Increasing Variant Spellings – Aaliyah and Allira

It’s hard to get solid data on these names, because with so many variant spellings, their true popularity remains a bit of a mystery. But just going by personal experience, these popular girls names have a dizzying range of spellings. Alia, Aleah, Aleaha, Aalia, Aaliya, Arlia and Arleya seem to blend in with Alira, Aleera, Alyra, Allara, Alirah and Allyrah until it is hard to know which original name was the inspiration. One name is Arabic and the other Ausralian Aboriginal, but they have managed to influence each other to an astounding degree.

Most Popular Unisex Name – Charlie

Charlie is rising for both boys and girls, and chances are that Charlie will be in the Top 100 for both genders next year. Will this lead to Charlie becoming less popular for boys? I hope not, as I like the thought of Charlie Mae and Charlie Matthew feeling equally confident, and happy with their names.

Groovy Grandma Middle Name – Joan

Joan used to seem dumpy and frumpy, but Mad Men vixen Joan Holloway, played by voluptuous Christina Hendricks, has given this name a far sexier image. It now sounds bold, sassy, and like a strong smart career woman who isn’t afraid to add femme fatale to her résumé. I haven’t seen anyone daring enough use it as a first name yet, but it’s replacing Jane and Jean as the go-to middle name for girls.

Celebrity Baby Name Most Likely – Flynn

Model Miranda Kerr and her husband, actor Orlando Bloom, welcomed their first child at the start of the year, calling him Flynn Christopher Blanchard Copeland Bloom. Flynn not only satisfies the Australian love of Irish names, but also references dashing Hollywood star Errol Flynn, born in Tasmania. As a result, it has done well during the past year, and Flynns pop up in birth notices on a regular basis. It became a celebrity baby name again when Mark Knowles from the national men’s hockey team called his son Flynn William in November. I’m tipping this to move up the rankings.

The Big O

This year saw celebrity babies called Oliver, Olivia, Oscar, Otis and Owen, and Arlo, Cleo, Halo, Indigo, Jago and Marlowe. You may also notice Bowie, Josephine, Kody, Lola, Poet, Roman and Zoe. Whether the O sound is at the beginning, the end, or in the middle, O names were obvious and notable, by jingo. These omens show us that we can expect to see O names more often in this locale.

Anna Otto runs Waltzing More Than Matilda, a blog dedicated to Australian names.


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18 Responses to “Australian Baby Names: What’s up down under”

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Guest Blogging at Nameberry | Waltzing More Than Matilda Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 3:57 am

[…] have a guest post at Nameberry today, called Australian Baby Names: What’s Up Down Under. It’s my look at baby name trends, and predictions for 2012. Abby has just rereun her […]

rollo Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 am

I totally reject the idea of Joan coming back into vogue again. It is still fusty and uncharismatic, and should be locked in the cupboard for another 100 years or so!

Flynn I love and its link to Errol, one to watch.

Jack will be a hard one to unlock from the top position as it seems like a name not a nn like the Bills and the Bobs of this world.

I know a twenty something girl named Charlie, but it is highly unusual to hear of a girl whose full name is Charlie.

You would think by now that the Aussies would have adopted Rupert with gusto seeing as it has the adorable nn of Roo; and we all know that the roo (kangaroo) is an iconic Australian animal.

I think Matilda will continue to rise as it is a name dear to all Aussies hearts.

Another Aussie Down Under

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 6:12 am

Hi Rollo, thanks for commenting!

I will be publishing Australian birth announcements once a week on my blog next year – keep an eye on them, and I feel confident you will spot Joan in the middle name position more than once!

Charlie will be joining the girl’s Top 100 for 2011; it is climbing steeply! It’s climbing faster than Charlie as a boy’s name.

Matilda is falling in the rankings 🙁

I think you are right about Jack proving a hard act to replace.

Keep an eye on Reuben – with the popularity of Ruby, he is climbing as a soundalike male name. I think the Reubens could all be Roos, but many people are ignoring my advice and going with Ben instead. 😉

rollo Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 6:59 am

Yes, I can see Reuben coming more into the limelight but wonder if some may feel it is too biblical for them in which case they could opt for Rupert if they like the nn of Roo. (Obviously Rupert is a GP (grand passion for me!) And I am so tired of hearing of multitudes of Bens I think Roo is much nicer.

I think Charlie is cute on a girl but I am sorry to see it go to the girls so much.

I feel sorry for any baby who ends up being named Joan.

emilymaryjane Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 8:17 am

I am from the land of Waltzing Matilda’s and I agree with you I know two Olivia’s ones five and the other is twelve it is definitely getting more popular. Matilda is a gorgeous name I only know one who is one (i think)the connection with home is great not only is it the daughter of the late Heath Ledger it is also the daughter of Denmark’s Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederick (spelt Mathilda). I also love Jack so sweet and gorgeous and not to childish or grandpaish but suitable for both. Another fave is Flynn this name is now in. Love the name but could (and will) be used for girls. With Charlie I know one boy who is about 16-18 and a 11 year old girl from England. I have also loved Zoe forever

Lola Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 10:38 am

I’m a Yank, and I fail to see the attraction of Jack. It’s too prevalent in slang for my comfort. Blah Jack!

I love the letter ‘O’. To pieces. It’s one common letter my three have: LeO, SimOn & JOsephine. Names I’ve considered for a sibling: Oona, Cleo, Coralie, Ottilie, Portia, Laszlo, Imogen, Pomeline, Romilly, George, Cosmo, Porfirio & Algernon.
Yep, even us Yanks love that ‘O’! And I adore Rufus, nn Roo!

I’d like to see some trends like these here in the States. Grandpa names (mine were Leslie & Andrew) but our Dads were Wayne & Stanley. Now those are Grandpa names! 😀 I like Gus a lot but would put a more formal form on his BC, to give him more options as he grows. Angus, Fergus & August are my favorite “Gus” full names.

Fun post. I love seeing what the rest of the world’s doing, naming-wise. Tthanks!

AmandaChristine Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 10:53 am

I’m in Canada, but I know on Charlie (girl) who is under 3 yrs old and one Charlotte (Charlie) who is 1 1/2 yrs old. Personally, I am not a fan of Charlie on girls at all. I would much rather meet a Charlotte (Lottie) than a Chalotte (Charlie)! Variant spelling are very popular where I am as well, bleh. We have discovered Jack, Olivia, Owen, and Oliver, but have yet to discover Matilda, so I’ll be waiting to hear that one over here 🙂

TinaBina Says:

December 22nd, 2011 at 11:23 am

My Aussie friend has a baby names Oenone… Never heard it before nor is it on here lol.

mmljar Says:

December 23rd, 2011 at 6:04 am

Another Australian here and I see a lot of these trends where I live (in the country). 2 of my kids have ‘O’ sounds (J0seph & N@omi) and I know 2 girl Charlie’s. In fact I think Charlie may soon make the cross over and would avoid it for a boy.

I do have to disagree with Rollo about Rupert however I just can’t see this being very popular here. The slang term ‘a bit of a Rupert’ would scare me off and the shortening ‘roo’ would be a negative not a positive in my mind (‘kanga-bloody-roos’). Not to mention to rue the day!

My money is on more biblical/grandad crossovers such as Moses and Abraham and more gem/flower names on girls such as Zinnia and Emerald.

Devestated that your post mentioned Dan as that was on my list for my last babe and I was holding it over waiting on a boy. I thought we were being original!

auroradawn Says:

December 23rd, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I would think another pop culture boost for the name Flynn would be the recent Disney movie “Tangled”, whose dashing hero calls himself Flynn Rider.
I hope Charlie doesn’t make that crossover–at least not here in America…

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

December 29th, 2011 at 5:02 am

@emilymaryjane: I think you are probably right, and Flynn will end up being used for girls as well; I have seen female Findlays.

@Lola: Some US grandpa names would be great! British singer Dido called her son Stanley, and I have seen it used a little bit here. I love Gus as a nn for Angus (very handsome).

@AmandaChristine: Let me know when you spot a Canadian Matilda! 🙂

@TinaBina: Oenone is so on-trend for O it’s not funny … I never thought of that one. I have never heard it in real life before, but in literature she was the first wife of Paris of Troy, who got dumped for Helen. The name means “wine woman”, maybe with connotations of being intoxicating?

@mmljar: Your money is probably being wisely invested, as they sound extremely likely outcomes to me. It’s very difficult to come up with something completely original, but I haven’t seen massive amounts of Dan, and I think if anything it’s being underused considering how on trend it is. I can’t promise that it won’t go up though in the next 10 years.

auroradawn: Flynn Rider in “Tangled” is himself named after Erroll Flynn … Charlie IS climbing as a girl’s name in the US, but I think you have a few years to go before it’s Top 100, if it ever gets there.

(I must apologise that Christmas has made me so tardy with my responses!)

AussieSteph Says:

January 3rd, 2012 at 2:05 am

I was surprised not to see the Isabella/Ella sounding names on your list. The baby names that seem to keep popping up amongst friends and friends of friends here in Melbourne in the past couple of years: Lily, Olivia, Isabella, Ella, Leo, Aiden & William…

emilymaryjane Says:

January 4th, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Aah just re-read my post and Mathilda is the middle name (one of them anyway) of Princess Josephine of denmark sorry. Also theres an o in Princess JOsephine. Hahaha

emilymaryjane Says:

January 5th, 2012 at 12:24 am

4got 2 say I have a sorta cousin called Finlay (nn Fin) and he’s nearly 4. With the “O” sound will names like Joanna and Joanne make a come back.

Also like 2 say a friend (maddybear) recently had twin girls named Finley Grace and Flynn Marie



emilymaryjane Says:

January 5th, 2012 at 12:25 am

I am 4getful also know a baby Cleo sister to Lexi

emilymaryjane Says:

January 12th, 2012 at 1:46 am

Maddy did not end up having twins. One was stillborn and chose Isabelle instead

emilymaryjane Says:

January 22nd, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I wonder if Zoe will rise because of comedian Hamish Blake announcing his engagment to Zoe Foster. Zoe is the best name btdubs

Chloe and William – #1 in New South Wales « Waltzing More Than Matilda Says:

March 3rd, 2012 at 3:24 am

[…] is new on the list at #77. I predicted we’d see a greater proliferation in spellings of this name, but the original spelling is popular enough to make it to the Top 100. If spellings were combined, […]

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