Baby name hobby marks half a century

Ruth MatthewsRUTH Matthews was on the verge of giving up recording Ballarat’s baby names.

But when she realised 2015 would be her 50th year of compiling the monikers, she decided to “start off and see how things go”.

However, she has concerns her results are no longer a true picture of baby names due to social media trumping old-fashioned birth notices in The Courier.

“I can still record them but I think it’s starting to get past being accurate,” Mrs Matthews said.

The Mount Clear grandmother said official notices had dropped dramatically in the past three years, with only 556 recorded this year compared to 1135 in 2011.

It is also low in comparison with the boom years of 1517 babies listed in 1978 and 1309 in 2008.

“People put it on Facebook now,” Mrs Matthews said.

Mrs Matthews began collecting the names as a hobby in 1965 after the birth of her first child Rodney.

“It’s very different today than back then. There are no Marks, Peters, Stephens, Johns, Darrens now,” she said.

Depending on how busy she is, Mrs Matthews often collects The Courier’s birth notices for a week or two before sitting down to add them to the lists.

“But it doesn’t take me as long now as it used to,” she said.

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Coast gets ready to party

CELEBRATE WITH A BANG: Fireworks will be a highlight of the New Year’s Eve celebrations at both Burnie and Devonport tonight. Picture: Stuart Wilson.DESPITE being lashed by rough weather over the last few days, organisers of both Devonport and Burnie’s New Year’s Eve celebrations aren’t worried about the forecast.

Both Burnie and Devonport will be spared heavy winds and showers with the weather clearing late afternoon.

Weatherzone meteorologist Anthony Duke said early New Year’s Eve would be slightly breezy with winds coming from the North-West in the afternoon.

“There will be winds of 35km/h. They will ease into the overnight periods, and by midnight they will be more likely 20km/h,” he said.

The organiser of the A Night on the Terrace event in Burnie, Jenny Cox, said they had sourced extra sandbags just in case the weather turned sour.

“Our event is on the beach so it will be really exposed,” she said.

“The fire brigade and shot firer will make the final decision on the bon fire and fireworks. If it were forecast to be bucketing down, then the event would be cancelled, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Eve in the City organiser Maree Brodzinski said the Devonport event would go ahead unless there was torrential rain.

“At the moment the plan is to still go ahead,” she said.

“The event will still happen and we’re still hoping to have fireworks at 9.45pm and midnight.”

If it did rain, Ms Brodzinski said they wouldn’t be able to move the event due to its size.

Both organisers said they would keep an eye on the weather today.

Burnie and Devonport start their celebrations at 5.30pm and 6pm respectively.

A Night on the Terrace will include the Burnie Bay Criterium in the CBD featuring some of the world’s best cyclists, sci-fi characters roaming the foreshore and an Instagram challenge where party-goers can win a trip to Melbourne.

Devonport will have its Dream Festival where attendees can purchase a lantern and celebrate the past year and ring in the new one by writing on the lantern and placing it in a special garden.

Both Burnie and Devonport will have live music and of course fireworks for families and again at the stroke of midnight.

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Heza Swinger draws box seat for Inter City Pace final

Heza Swinger has drawn the box seat for Saturday night’s Inter City Pace final at Maitland Showground.

LAST INTER CITY PACE: Paul Sapio drives Megs Ferrari to victory in the final of the 2014 Inter City Pace.

The Kerry Ann Turner-trained four-year-old picked up gate No. 1 for the 2422-metre journey following last night’s barrier draw at the Commercial Hotel at Morpeth.

Heza Swinger, which took out the fourth heat at Maitland on Sunday, was fortunate to score the inside ­running after being the fifth and final of the C2 class to draw a barrier on the front row.

Fellow C2 horses Lavra Bhutan (three), Better Than Max (two), fastest qualifier All Eyes On Us (four) and second heat winner Inception (five) had already selected barriers before Heza Swinger, but luck fell the way of the bay gelding.

This result will more than likely see Menangle driver Robert Morris steer Heza Swinger in the $35,000 group 3 feature over Mister Jay Cee.

Morris also drove Mister Jay Cee to victory in the heats, but the four-year-old bay gelding drew barrier 11, the widest possible start on the ­second row.

Joining Mister Jay Cee on the back row will be the other C4 class horses in Tella (eight), I’m Jay Tee (nine) and defending champion Megs Ferrari (10).

Barrier seven, the inside of the ­second row, was allocated to the Polly Downing-trained Ball Boy andwill be left vacant if the eight-­year-old bay gelding doesn’t get a run.

Rounding out the front row, the widest in barrier six, will be fifth heat winner Strathlachlan Andy.

It wasn’t the ideal draw for Bobs Farm driver Matthew Harding.

“That’s racing and we will have to ride our luck,” he said last night.

“Hopefully there is some early speed and we can come home over the top.”

Louth Park driver Guy Chapple will be on board the Charles Camilleri-trained Lavra Bhutan from barrier three and he said it would be full speed ahead from the word go.

“We won’t be going back,” Chapple said.

Sawyers Gully driver Jason Proctor will be in charge of Better Than Max from barrier two.

“It was the perfect draw,” Proctor said.

“We don’t have to draw position we just have to sit there and see what ­happens.”

Last night’s barrier draw was ­overseen by Harness Racing NSW steward Todd Clarke.

The 52nd Inter City Pace final is set for 9.15pm.

First race at Maitland Showground on Saturday will jump at 6.15pm.


2) Better Than Max

3) Lavra Bhutan

4) All Eyes On Us

5) Inception

6) Strathlachlan Andy

7) Ball Boy (emergency)

8) Tella

9) I’m Jay Tee

10) Megs Ferrari

11) Mister Jay Cee


1 Lucky Ned Pepper

2 Robbiewillmakeit

3 Playboy President (emergency)

4 Saint Stormy

5 Our Expressive Art

6 Burning Ambition (scratched)

7 Star Of Darwinia

8 Artsu

9 Gee Tee Wage

10 Charming Joseph

11 The Puritan

RACE 2 at 6.40pm

1 Watmough

2 Six Degrees

3 Amanda Von

4 Son Of A Star

5 Four Wise Men

6 Miss Fidelity

7 Motu Miss Lilli

8 Kardashiancrusader

RACE 3 at 7.17pm

1 Stunin Art

2 Thomas Dylan

3 Mahogany Stride

4 Sissies Beach Girl

5 Tiny Tinker

6 Rambo Flight

7 Is I Out

8 Starzzzinthenight

9 Lively Nick

10 Cobla Stuie

RACE 4 at 7.50pm

1 Im A Player

2 Ball Boy

3 Charli Dollar

4 Heza Panamach

5 Caesar

6 Angelas Image

7 Dan Helder

8 Jetts Afella

9 Donnie Cee

RACE 5 at 8.15pm

1 Master Firehawke

2 Mondo Seelster

3 Dexter Lowe

4 Hollys Fantasy

5 Lombo Madam Lashe

6 Kinsella

7 Shore To Success

8 Dynamic Jack

9 Set In Stone

RACE 6 at 8.45pm

1 Paintmeacanvas

2 Doubel Barrel

3 Soverign Flight

4 Rapid Art Beat

5 Mista Taptoe Lombo

6 Black Belt

7 Rollon Baby Belle

8 Dark Defender

9 Borninastorm

10 Nuclear Reality

11 Donnie Cee (emergency)

RACE 8 at 9.47pm

1 Spinadirosa

2 Playboy President

3 Bandan

4 Burning Ambition

5 Madam Misty

6 Strathlachlan Matt

7 Nicks Legacy (emergency)

8 Enrichment

9 Benjim Brogden

10 Mister Cooke

11 Artistic Double

RACE 9 at 10.12pm

1 Majestic Lustre

2 Able Jasper

3 Pure Strength

4 Roger Khan

5 Hooded Angel

6 Mister Eye Bolt

7 Bye The Clouds

8 Just Conduct

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Jack,  Ruby  still  Ballarat’s  most  popular baby names

Collection: Ruth Matthews has been compiling an annual list of the most popular baby names for 50 years. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORDJACK is back, Flynn is in and Ruby rules.

Ballarat’s top baby names for 2014, compiled by Mount Clear’s Ruth Matthews from The Courier’s birth notices, have been revealed.

For the third year running, Jack – or Jackson – was the most popular boys’ name while Ruby claimed top spot for the girls for the second year in a row, after sharing it with Charlotte last year.

Charlotte dropped to second place but the third, fourth and fifth spots were filled with multiple names due to a smaller amount of notices recorded.

Third were Ava, Evie, Ivy, Lucy, Sienna and Violet, fourth were Amelia, Matilda and Olivia, and fifth Anna, Ella, Emilia, Isla, McKenzie, Zara and Maddison.

Similarly with the boys, Henry was runner-up, Archie or Archer third, Hudson, Oliver and Thomas shared fourth and Fletcher, Oscar and Harrison/Harry were in fifth place.

Mrs Matthews said many old-fashioned names were making a popular return, with names like Cooper, Ethan, Noah, Mila and Mia dropping off the list.

“Some of them are really coming back,” she said.

But as usual, there were also some more unusual monikers, with Mrs Matthews recording a Huon, Lennox, Rocco, Tahvo, Tyce, Tiger, Oaklan and, possibly the Home and Away-inspired, Brax for boys and a Lowanna, Ginger, Spencer, Ecco, Romi, Taylen and Minti for girls.

There were 279 boys’ notices and 277 girls’ notices and they included three sets of twins.

Ballarat’s top namesBoys’ names:

1. Jack/Jackson

2. Henry

3. Archie/Archer

4. Hudson, Oliver, Thomas

5. Fletcher, Oscar, Harrison/Harry

Girls’ names:

1. Ruby

2. Charlotte

3. Ava, Evie, Ivy, Lucy, Sienna, Violet

4. Amelia, Matilda, Olivia

5. Anna, Ella, Emilia, Isla, McKenzie, Zara, Maddison.

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Barking mad – Police dog setback as government announces fresh trial

A DECISION on a permanent police dog in the Oxley Command has been delayed with NSW police instead choosing to trial a dog unit – again.

The Force has announced a “further trial” of a dog unit will be undertaken early next year as it determines whether it is a permanent feasible option.

In September, a general duties dog and handler spent a month on rotating duties in Tamworth as part of a 30-day trial before a review by the NSW Dog Unit and Western Region.

Oxley Superintendent Clint Pheeney said he was still in the dark on the details of the latest announcement.

“I think it is going to go for three months,” he told The Leader.

“I don’t have any more informationother than it’s going to be in early in the new year.”

Superintendent Pheeney has been one of the biggest backers of the community campaign to secure the four-legged canine to bolster police ranks.

Following the last trial, he said despite the short period of time “the dog has proven its worth,” adding it had assisted with several searches and arrests of offenders.

He took community concerns and the cold hard numbers to the blue hierarchy to help secure the unit permanently, and confirmed the current wait for a dog for a police operation can be several hours, travelling from Sydney, Dubbo or the coast, which could prove the difference in solving a case.

The NSW police were criticised when the original trial was announced last August, with some community members arguing it wasn’t long enough to prove its worth, while many said a drug dog would prove more effective in the town.

But there is still no word on whether the new trial will include a drug dog.

“I don’t know whether it will be a dual purpose dog or a drug detection dog,” Superintendent Pheeney said.

“It’ll happen very early on in the new year but that timing is still to be determined.”

The NSW Dog Unit has refused requests from The Leader for interviews since the end of the last trial, citing the trial’s review and in a statement this month said “no further comment can be provided at this time” as the matter is now “still under trial.”

The fight to secure a police dog is firming as a key election issue with Tamworth Regional Council stating in November “it was time to apply somepressure.”

“The whole idea of having a trial was to see if it worked or not, and it clearly worked, so let’s ask where a dog is and when it’s coming,” Deputy mayor Russell Webb told the November Council meeting.

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