Category: Australian baby names
When the British colonized Australia in the 18th century, they were almost immediately fascinated by the Aboriginal languages they encountered. The first known Europeans to choose an Aboriginal name for their child were the chaplain and his wife from the First Fleet, whose daughter was baptized Milbah, a local name which had delighted them.
At the time of first European settlement, there were as many as 700 different Aboriginal languages and dialects. Today there are less than 150 in daily use, and all but 20 are in danger of disappearing. By using Aboriginal words and phrases as names, whether on people, businesses, fictional characters, houses, streets, towns, and even pets, those languages remain in use at least to an extent.
I know people are still interested in Australian Aboriginal names, because my posts on the subject are the most popular on my blog. I’m not in any way an expert on Aboriginal language and culture, and have only chosen names which are already in use, or which Indigenous people have been willing to share, or which come from extinct languages.
Wacky celebrity baby names are popular gossip-mag fare all over the world, and we love hearing about Audio Science, Moxie Crimefighter, Princess Tiaamii and Phaedra Bloom Forever. But we’ve got some intriguing home-grown celebrity baby names of our own right here in Australia.
Retired AFL footballer Brodie Holland has twin boys named Kip and Bowie. I’ve been told Kip‘s name is inspired by actor Kip Pardue, while Bowie is presumably after singer David Bowie. Kip and Bowie‘s older sister is Stevie – another pop reference.
The eldest daughter of TV chef Pete Evans has an appropriately culinary name – Chilli. She was born the year after Gwenyth Paltrow’s daughter Apple, which inspired Pete to also use a type of food as a name. Chilli‘s younger sister is Indii.
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?