QUEENSLANDERS everywhere are playing the name game, with the State Department of Justice Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages recording that more than 6000 Queenslanders changed their name last year.
Registration Manager Grahame Schofield has worked at the Registry since 1969 and said those who chose to do their names did so for a variety of reasons.
“A common reason is that women who get married overseas have to legally change their name to their husband’s in order to change their name on their passport,” he said.
“But we get all sorts of things. Some people want to anglicise their name, so, from ‘Georgio’ to ‘George’ is an example, and others change their names because they don’t like their old ones or want to be known as something else.”
“Sometimes if a particular movie or actor is popular, we see a lot of people changing their names to that of the character or actor,” Mr Schofield said.
However, before you race off to become Princess Taylor Swift the third, Mr Schofield warns that there are rules surrounding what you can and can’t do.
“You can’t give yourself a title,” he said.
“So you can’t become Sir John Smith.
“You also can’t use a trade name and call your child Coca-Cola, for example.”
Names can be as silly as you like (the Observer knows of one chap called ’Fully Hektik Sik’) but the state draws the line at obscenties.
“A good test for avoiding taking on a prohibited name is to yell it out in the street. If you think anyone is going to be offended, then it’s unlikely to be allowed,” Mr Schofield said.
Don’t think you can do it on a whim, either. Once you’ve changed your name, you’ve got it for the next twelve months at least.“It’s to stop people from being silly about it,” he said.
“We want people to take name changing seriously. They have to realise that that’s what their new name will be, legally, and that they can’t change it again for an entire year.”
Kids have different rules, with only one name change allowed before they turn 18.
“For children, you can register one change of given name between ages one and 18, and a change of surname once every 12 months,” he said.
Interestingly, it’s not obligatory to give a child the same surname as his or her parents.
“Parents can give their children whatever surname they like,” he said.
“The child doesn’t have to have either the mother’s or the father’s surname,” he said.
“If you are Smith and the other parent is Brown, you can call your child Green.”
For more information on how to change your name, visit www.justice.qld.gov.au.
Celebrity name changes
- Jennifer Aniston – Jennifer Annasstakis
- Charlie Sheen – Carlos Irwin Esteves
- Demi Moore – Demetria Gene Guynes
- Jamie Foxx – Eric Bishop
- Vin Diesel – Mark Vincent
- Reese Witherspoon – Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
- Natalie Portman – Natalie Hershlag
- Carmen Electra –Tara Leigh Patrick
- Whoopi Goldberg – Caryn Johnson
- Ben Kingsley – Krishna Banji
- Meg Ryan – Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra.
- Antonio Banderes – Jose Antonio Dominguez Bandera
- Tom Cruise – Tom Mapother
How to change your name
You can only change your name at the Registry if you were born in Queensland or if you were born overseas and have resided in Queensland for the past 12 months.
- If you were born in another Australian state or territory, you will need to apply to the registering authority in the state of your bith in order to legally change your name.
- If you are eligible to change your name at the QLD registry, you need to fill out an application (available at www.justice.qld.gov.au), provide proof of identity, provide additional required documents and pay the scheduled fee.
- The scheduled fee for an adult to change their name is $145.