Jack the lad: why parents pick this boys’ name

IT’S a name that is solid, masculine, easy to spell, and easy to love – and parents don’t give a damn if everyone else feels the same way.

Jack has topped the list of popular male baby names in NSW for the fifth consecutive year.

The name reached peak popularity in Australia in the 1920s, then waned until it returned in the 1980s. Since the start of the decade, it has hovered around the top of the list every year.

NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages spokeswoman Alana Sheil said its popularity was easy to explain.

“People just love the sound of that name. It comes across as very Aussie, it’s easy to spell, it’s cute for a little boy but strong for an adult,” Ms Sheil said.

In contrast, the top girls’ name for 2008 is a relative newcomer, Mia. The name was virtually non-existent in Australia before 1970 and as recently as 2002 still languished near the bottom of the top 100 list.

In 2003 it suddenly emerged at No.11 and has been rising ever since – no doubt helped by the fact that Bec and Lleyton Hewitt named their daughter Mia in 2005, the year it first entered the top 10.

Other popular names this year included Isabella, with derivatives Isabelle and Isabel as well as similar-sounding names Ella and Bella all in the top 100.

A report on names published by McCrindle Research this year found only 17 per cent of newborns took a name from a celebrity, while 66 per cent were named after a family member, 17 per cent after friends and 12 per cent after historical figures.

The mothers of the five Jacks photographed by The Sun-Herald last week all loved the strength and simplicity of the moniker.

Deanne Omar, mother of Jack Somerville, 8 months, said she liked the fact that the name could not be abbreviated.

Sylvia Myers named her Jack, 20 months, after his great-grandfather.

Alex Carlton, mother of Jack Walsh, 2, said she knew the name was popular, but did not care: “It’s honest and straightforward – we loved it.”

Lisa Kilby, mother of Jack, 3, was also unperturbed by the name’s popularity. “It really suits him,” she said. For Melanie Gittany, mother of Jack, 4, the appeal was simple: “It’s a good, strong name.” TOP 10 FOR 2008