The Name Game

70+ Australian Last Names That Will Make You Want To See Sydney

Give your little “ankle biter” a name with Aussie roots.

Originally Published: 
Australian Last Names

Australia isn’t just the land of Bluey, Hugh Jackman, and the Hemsworth brothers, it’s also a stunning country that’s home to more than 25 million people. But it also has a complicated history. For thousands of years, the indigenous people of Australia were its sole caretakers, but in the late 18th century, the United Kingdom established the country as a penal colony for convicts from Great Britain. As a result, many common Australian last names are English, Scottish, and Irish in origin.

From the 18th century on, Australia became more and more Westernized. This in turn led to Aboriginal Australians becoming increasingly marginalized in their own country. Again, this is reflected in the list of the continent’s most common last names. Because the English either assigned the Aboriginal people surnames or simply referred to them by first names only in records, much of the culture was lost, at least in terms of documentation.

However, modern-day Australia is still a vibrant melting pot of cultures. In addition to the English settlers and Aboriginal people, the continent also has a large Asian Australian population consisting of people who trace their ancestry back to China, India, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. While Chinese people were already immigrating to Australia in the early 1800s, many Asian Australians can trace their ancestors’ arrival to the Victorian gold rushes, which occurred from the 1850s to the 1860s.

These days, Australia is a unique country where class systems are deemphasized in favor of a belief that everyone deserves a fair shot at having a good life. Part of this philosophy stems from the country’s history as a penal colony, but it’s also just a reflection of the Australian people themselves. At its heart, Australia is a place where multiculturalism is largely embraced, and that reality is reflected both in its changing demographics and in the most common Australian last names you’re likely to encounter if you visit the land down under.

Check out our list of some of the most popular last names, alongside their meanings and origins, that can be found across Australia below.

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Common Australian Last Names

1. Smith

Meaning: An English name referring to a blacksmith.

2. Jones

Meaning: An English or Welsh name meaning son of John.

3. Martin

Meaning: A French name referring to Mars, the Roman god of war.

4. Williams

Meaning: An English name meaning son of William.

5. Kelly

Meaning: An Irish name meaning descendent of Ceallach.

6. Johnson

Meaning: An English name meaning Son of John.

7. Kim

Meaning: A Korean name meaning gold or metal.

8. King

Meaning: An English name referring to a king or royalty.

9. Singh

Meaning: An Indian name meaning lion is Sanskrit.

10. White

Meaning: An English name referring to a person of fair hair or complexion.

11. Nguyen

Meaning: A Vietnamese name meaning musical instrument.

12. Kumar

Meaning: An Indian name meaning child or prince.

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13. Harris

Meaning: An English name meaning son of Harry.

14. Ryan

Meaning: An Irish name meaning descendant of Riaghan.

15. Patel

Meaning: An Indian name meaning village chief.

16. Lee

Meaning: A Chinese and Korean name meaning plum or plum tree.

17. Taylor

Meaning: An English occupational name for a tailor.

18. Sharma

Meaning: An Indian name stemming from the Sanskrit word for joy or happiness.

19. Thompson

Meaning: A Scottish surname meaning son of Thomas.

20. Walker

Meaning: An English occupational name for someone who presses or beats cloth.

21. Prasad

Meaning: An Indian name stemming from the Sanskrit word for favor or offering.

22. Brown

Meaning: An English name that means “the son of Brun.”

23. Campbell

Meaning: A Scottish name derived from the Gaelic roots cam (“crooked”) and beul (“mouth”).

24. Clark

Meaning: An English name that derived from the word “clerk.”

25. Cooper

Meaning: A Scottish name derived from the Cupar in Fife that is also tied to the profession of the same name.

26. Davis

Meaning: A Welsh name that means “son of David.”

27. Dixon

Meaning: An English name meaning “son of Richard.”

28. Doyle

Meaning: An Irish name meaning “descendant of Dubhghall,” which breaks down to dubh (“black”) and gall (“stranger”).

29. Dwyer

Meaning: An Irish name derived from the occupation of “the dyer.”

30. Edwards

Meaning: An English and Welsh name meaning “son of Edward.”

31. Evans

Meaning: A Welsh name meaning “son of Evan.”

32. Ferguson

Meaning: A Scottish name derived from the personal name Fergus, which means “angry one.”

33. Fisher

Meaning: An English occupational name.

34. Foster

Meaning: An English name rooted in the ancient occupation of the foster, also known as the person who was in charge of keeping up hunting grounds for monarchs and bishops.

35. Fraser

Meaning: A Scottish name related to the clan of Fraser.

36. Freeman

Meaning: An ancient name of Anglo-Saxon origin that means “free-born man.”

37. Gibson

Meaning: An English name meaning “the son of Gilbert.”

38. Gill

Meaning: A Scottish and English topographical name derived from the Old Norse world “gil,” which means ravine.

39. Graham

Meaning: An English and Scottish habitational name relating to Grantham in Lincolnshire, England.

40. Huang

Meaning: A Chinese name that translates to yellow.

41. Johnston

Meaning: An Old English name that literally translates to “John’s town.”

42. Lewis

Meaning: A German name meaning “renowned, famous battle.”

43. Mitchell

Meaning: An English name meaning “the son of Michael.”

44. Murphy

Meaning: A common Irish surname that derives from a Gaelic term meaning “descendant of sea warrior.”

45. Nelson

Meaning: An Irish name meaning “son of Nell.”

46. O’Brien

Meaning: An Irish name meaning descendant of Brian.

47. Payne

Meaning: An Anglo-Saxon name meaning “son of Pagan.”

48. Reynolds

Meaning: A French name meaning “son of Reynold.”

49. Roberts

Meaning: A Welsh name derived from Robert, meaning “bright renown.”

50. Scott

Meaning: A Scottish name that means someone from Scotland.

51. Shaw

Meaning: An English geographical name meaning from a residence by a small wood or shaw.

52. Turner

Meaning: A French occupational name for someone who worked with a lathe.

53. Wang

Meaning: A Chinese name meaning prince.

54. Xu

Meaning: A Chinese name that means “many.”

55. Zhang

Meaning: An ancient Chinese name meaning to “stretch open a bow.”

Australian Aboriginal Names

Australia has a long history, and before the British colonized it in 1788, it belonged to the Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Here are a few aboriginal names with rich meanings.

1. Minjarra

Meaning: This is the name of a bush plum tree that grows in Western Australia.

2. Birrani

Meaning: Boy.

3. Monaro

Meaning: High plateau or high plain.

4. Yarran

Meaning: Just.

5. Waru

Meaning: Fire.

6. Iluka

Meaning: “By the sea.”

7. Jiemba

Meaning: Laughing star.

8. Alinta

Meaning: Fire.

9. Alira

Meaning: References translucent gem quartz.

10. Jedda

Meaning: Wild goose.

11. Killara

Meaning: This name means permanent or always there. It’s also the name of a Sydney suburb.

12. Kirra

Meaning: Beautiful woman, to live, boomerang or dancing leaf.

13. Kylie

Meaning: Boomerang.

14. Lowanna

Meaning: Girl or woman

15. Maali

Meaning: Old tree.

16. Medika

Meaning: Blossom, flower, or native water lilies.

17. Yindi

Meaning: Mother or sun.

What Is Another Name for Australia?

Speaking of names, did you know Australia has several? Australia is one of the most unique places in the world, and on top of having the strangest creatures, it has a quirky naming history too. This continent has more than one name. Some include “Oz” and “The Land Down Under,” which is also called Down Under. Australia is also known by other aliases like “The Great Southern Land,” “The Lucky Country,” and “The Sunburnt Country.”

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