However of those babies born here, the most popular names are usefully divided by decade, facilitating comparisons over the century since Australia became an independent, federated nation (1/1/1901). Below I have given the top ten names, for boys and for girls, for selected decades.
Ethel Amy Ida Mary Myrtle Charlotte Elsie Eva Florence Grace
1940s (I was born and named Helen, along with half my class at school). Margaret Judith Helen Patricia Lynette Barbara Pamela Lorraine Beverley Jennifer
1970s (my children went to school, filled with Lisas and Melissas). Michelle Nicole Lisa Melissa Kylie Rebecca Sarah Amanda Joanne Belinda
2000s (my grandchildren started school, with heaps of Chloes and Mias. Soft endings with vowels seem de rigueur, for girls). Olivia Emily Chloe Ella Jessica Isabella Charlotte Mia Grace Sarah
The boys names were more predictable and somewhat less changing. Anglo-Saxon names were more popular for the first 50 years, then much loved Biblical names remained popular for the next 60 years. Almost every male name ends in a consonant.
George Ernest Alan Arthur Harold Jack James John William Alfred
Peter John Robert David Michael Stephen Ian Gregory Paul Gary
Matthew James Daniel Joshua Michael Thomas Nicholas Jack Benjamin Luke
I think we can classify 110 years of baby names into three groups. Firstly some names like Charlotte, Amy, Grace, William and James never lost their popularity, decade after decade. Secondly some names were very popular 100 years ago and have re-emerged only recently eg Ruby, Sarah. And thirdly some names were extremely popular at the turn of last century but have faded away. These days very few babies seem to be called Arthur, Horace, Florence, Mabel or Ethel.
Environmentally-specific names, eg Moonbeam or Tigerlily for the children of flower power parents, did not seem to catch on. This was probably true, even in the wild 1960s. Film and sports stars' names did not gain popularity either - there won't be very many children in Australian primary schools in 2020 called Phoenix, Ashton, Javier or Cruz. Finally I had expected to find girls being given names that represented Christian virtues, at least in the early days of Australian Federation. But the names Prudence, Charity, Constance and Mercy did not become extremely popular with parents of newborns. Grace was the exception.
The Australian Jewish News recorded the most popular names for Jewish babies in 2010 as well. Although there were no New Testament names (Luke, Matthew or James), Old Testament names were the most likely to be chosen for newborn boys. Jacob, Benjamin, Asher and Zachary were clear winners. For newborn girls, parents felt totally free to give non-Biblical names. Mia, Ashley, Tali, Zoe and Romy were the runaway favourites.
How predictable parents are. I feel a PhD thesis coming on :)