WHEN Sally Thompson and partner Glenn chose the name William for their first born, they were also deciding the types of names they would give to any future children.
“I was really big on us all sounding like a family,” said Ms Thompson, of New Lambton. “We have real 1970s names, but we both liked older English names and wanted to keep with that tradition.”
William, 9, is now big brother to Thomas or Tommy, 7, and Oliver or Ollie, 4.
“I felt they would not age – they’re timeless and lovely strong names for boys.”
The couple’s carefully chosen monikers have also resonated with parents across NSW, with all three appearing in the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages’ (BDM) 10 most popular names 2016.
The list is topped by Anglo-Celtic names spelt traditionally; Oliver and Olivia (variation Olive is the 92nd most popular girls name), followed by classics William and Charlotte, Jack and Amelia, Noah and Ava, Lucas and Mia, James and Chloe, Ethan and Emily, Thomas and Grace, Alexander and Isla and Leo and Ruby.
BDM data for the five most-populated suburbs in each local government area shows Olivia was pipped by Emily in Newcastle, Mia in Lake Macquarie, Emma in Maitland and Charlotte in Port Stephens, although Oliver stood firm in the top boys spot.
Frederick was the 10th most popular boys name in Newcastle, but didn’t make the NSW top 100.
Neither Oliver or Olivia cracked the top 10 in Cessnock, where Levi and Ruby were the most popular names. Lydia was the 10th most common girls name in Cessnock, but also didn’t make the statewide cut.
The Herald’s Babies of 2016 magazine published last month offered a glimpse of some bubs given rare names including Bede, Bentley, Boston, Brayton, Corbin, Ezra, Garratt, Harlow, Kallarney, Khaleesi, Kruz, Kylerah, Kyden, Lhotse, Maverick, Ohkiah, Otis and Vance.
Ms Thompson, a paediatric nurse who worked for three years at The Royal London Hospital, said both her career choice and time overseas could have contributed to her preferences.
She had been considering Harry for her third son, “but then realised I couldn’t have both William and Harry from the royal family”.
“I don’t think I realised at the time the names were as popular as what we’re seeing now, not that that would have changed my mind at all,” she said.
“Even though they are popular, William, Tommy and Oliver don’t have anyone else in their school year or preschool with the same name.
“We seem to have found a pocket that doesn’t have too many.”
For Lynn Stewart of Kurri Kurri, her newborn daughter’s name is a link to her ancestors.
She gave birth on Wednesday morning to Bobbi Vica, named after her husband Wayne’s late father Robert and her mother Vica.
“It was important to us to have a meaning and this is keeping my father in law’s memory alive,” she said.
“He was an important man in the family and very loved. It’s important for us she learns about him and who he was.”
Alana Macklin and Ben Clacher of Salamander Bay chose the name Keana for their daughter, born Wednesday night. Keana joins older brother Kyson, 5, and Anekah, 10.
“I like quite different and unique names,” Ms Macklin said.
“Growing up I did not know any other Alanas and at the time I probably didn’t like it as much, but now I enjoy having this name.”
While Oliver, William and Jack and Olivia, Charlotte and Amelia have been in the top 20 for the past 10 years, BDM data for the past 60 years tracks the changing tides of choosing a child’s name.
The most popular names in 2006 were Jack and Chloe, in 1996 Joshua and Jessica, in 1986 Matthew and Jessica, 1976 Michael and Rebecca, 1966 David and Karen and 1956 Peter and Jennifer.
Similarly, the Hunter suburbs producing the most babies have changed significantly, even in the past decade.
The BDM list of top baby suburbs based on mother’s home address at time of birth had Blacktown in first place in 2016 with 840.
Charlestown was the highest ranking Hunter suburb (77th) with 196 babies, followed by Cessnock (87th) with 180, Muswellbrook (96th) at 177 and Rutherford (100th) with 176.
Blacktown topped the 2006 list with 693 births, followed by Singleton (71st) with 207 births, Muswellbrook (73rd) with 205 births, Raymond Terrace (92nd) with 179 births and Mayfield (95th) with 176 births.