Dartagnan is his first and only name. He used to be David Newton, until he came to Australia from England.
Dartagnan is his first and only name. He used to be David Newton, until he came to Australia from England. Jacklyn Wagner

Weird and wonderful names

WHEN it comes to people's names, the North Coast can boast more than its fair share of the weird and wonderful.

There are Rivers and Rains and Willows and the occasional Sequoia, Kinto and Llama, as well as the less exotic Dingo.

Some adults in the area are named Wallaby, Saxon and Sixa.

As a teenager, David Newton, 44, felt he wanted a less prosaic name, but when he suggested to his friends in England that he become Dartagnan they laughed at him.

Then he came to Lismore and took the name as his sole moniker.

Now everyone except his mum and dad calls him Dartagnan, he said.

The name comes from d'Artagnan, one of the swordsmen in the Alexandre Dumas novel The Three Musketeers, but Dartagnan said that while his namesake is occasionally depicted in movies as a dashing hero, he is just as often portrayed as 'a bit of a try-hard'.

Bizarre names can embarrass children and affect them for the rest of their lives, some psychologists say, and the NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos has urged parents to use common sense when choosing a name for their child.

“A person's reputation will forever be linked to it and I would remind parents of this special significance when choosing a name for their child,” he said.

The NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages has blocked parents from naming their child Ned Kelly because they judged it would be contrary to the public interest.

Attempts to register children as Jesus Christ, Post Master General, the number 7 and Chief Maximus have also been refused. The names Metallica, Fully Hektik Sik and God Bless, however, were accepted.

Mr Hatzistergos's call for sense comes as part of a larger plea to parents of the importance of registering the birth of their children.

All births in NSW must be registered by law within 60 days.

“Most parents complete their child's birth registration in a timely manner. However, some do not,” he said

Figures released yesterday by the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages show that 6340 people failed to complete the registration of their own birth, or that of their child in 2008.

Registration is free and without an official record of the child's birth they cannot be enrolled in school, he said, a process which takes place in October.



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