by Shirley Cook & Judith Lewis

The original Anglo-Saxon word was “ekename” meaning “also or added”. This became slurred to “nekename” and finally “nickname”. Nicknames were common in Ancient Greece and Rome especially as terms of affection. English parents gave their children long names then abbreviated them e.g. “Harold” became “Hal” and “Elizabeth” became “Betsy”.

Nicknames are usually awarded to, not chosen, by the recipient and often are based on the person’s name, physical characteristics, personality or lifestyle. Some nicknames are obvious but some need an explanation.

Some years ago Shirley Cook (Woods) sent us a comprehensive list of “Rivo” nicknames. We have added to Shirley’s list and have endeavoured to match these names with each person’s real name and, where possible, to ascertain the origin of the nickname if it is not indicative of the above criteria.

Nickname  Surname Given Name Origin
Apples Britton Stanley
Barney Doolan Brian
Bats Johnston Bruce Bruce was told he had ears like a bat.
Battler Woods Jimmy Jimmy was a very successful boxer.
Bear Leach John John was Road Captain of the Motor Bike Club. Each year the club travelled in convoy to the Bathurst Bike Races. They slept overnight at Lithgow where some of them were confronted by a local gang. John, came charging to his mates’ rescue “like a Big Bear”.
Beefie Shields Ronnie
Binjo Webster Bob
Blacken Willis Alfie
Blueberry Mayhew Cyril
Bluey Parkes Jack Most Blueys were redheads
Bluey Rasmussen
Bluey Young Graham
Bogan Buchan Robert?
Boley Mitchell
Bonnie Mudiman Ernest
Boofa Woods Bill
Borer Brace Albert Edward
Boxhead Harris Darryl
Bozo Lane Laurie On the cricket field one of his mates said he was acting like a clown, a “Bozo”.
Brindle Shields Norman
Brown Boyd Sam
Buck Burke
Buck Crowl
Bulla Ritchie
Bung Boyd Gordon
Bunger Byrnes Barry
Bunty Brown
Butch Drayton Noel  Butch’s first job was as a delivery driver, with horse & cart, for a local butcher.
Charcoal Ayhlett Charlie
Chummy Greenhalgh Samuel
Cocky Cook Warren
Coxie Sullivan Colin
Crash Craddock John Henry
Crow Alderton
Crutch Shields Eric
Daisy Fussell Neville
Deafie Johnston
Diesel Johnston Kevin Kevin began driving trucks as soon as he was old enough.
Digger Dillon Alan
Dill Keegan Arthur
Dinky Knight Herbert Eric Playing with another boy he was asked, “Do you play dinks?” “Yes.” was the reply. “Well I’ll call you Dinky.”
Dobbo Dobson Ronald
Doc Haywood Colin
Donkey Mills Alwyn
Doodie Jocelyn
Doodie Shields Harold
Dosser Drayton Alan
Dosser Drayton George Snr Alan’s father. People often inherited their father’s nickname when they went to work at the Meatworks.
Doughy Wallace Norman He was a baker.
Drip Sandilands Charlie
Duck Magennis Eric When Eric was small his grandmother had a duck which Eric used to carry around the yard. His Nan also had a Chook, called “Biddy”, which his sister Barbara used to carry around. Eric still calls Barbara “Biddy”.
Duck Woods Brian
Duffer Brown Geoffrey
Dummy Drayton Jack
Dump Hillier Hilton
Dump Keegan Kevin
Fifty-Bob Sheehan  Stanley
Finny Smith
Flask Welk Kevin
Gandy Martin Gordon
Goodgie Willis Eric
Goofy Lane Cedric
Googa Anderson Reginald As a boy Reggie had the best collection of birds’ eggs.
Googie Jackett Harry
Gravy Woods Noel
Gudgeon Alderton Gordon
Harpo Cook Albert He had curly blonde hair, not unlike Harpo Marx.
Hoofna Goddard Alec
Hooks Willis Eric
Ike Schofield Leslie
Jittery Schoffel Eric
Jock Simpson Alexander
Jockey Stephens Rowland He had been a jockey.
Lizzie Knott Frederick
Monkey Neal  Ronald Ron was called “Monkey” at school, “Mouse” came later.
Mouse Neal
Musso Woods Barry
Mutt Haynes Jeff
Nabby Jackett Johnny
Nick Jackett Neville
Nick Schofield Neville
Nugget Spencer Ken
Nut Robbins Tony
Ox Buchanan Bobby
Paddy Packer Albert
Pansy Cartwright Albert
Penguin Martin Gordon
Pills Willis Hilton
Pinhead Podesta Rodney
Pom Alderton Arthur He always spoke very correctly, like a “Pom”!
Popeye Cook Ronald
Poppy Cameron Bruce
Prince Greentree Hubert?
Pudding Keegan
Red McNamara Bill
Red Rooster Coull Ken
Rolly Stanford
Rowdy Strachan Barry Barry was a very quiet person.
Sandy Alcorn Stanley
Shota Woods  Johnny
Skipper Martin Ralph
Smokey Sandilands George
Snapper Holloway Ronny
Snooksey Cook Albert “Snooksey’s” nickname became “Harpo” later in life.
Snowy Alderton Robert Snr.
Snowy Holloway
Snowy Martin
Sockem Ford Reggie
Sparrow Packer Kevin
Spider Gordon Richard
Splorfoot Johnston Matt He had rather large feet.
Spot Parkes Robert Lots of freckles.
Sprat Fisher Alec
Sproggo Godfrey
Squeaker Strachan Siddie
Steamer Jennings Norman
Sticker Davis Horace
Stinky Donoghue John
Stumpy Byrnes Kevin
Stumpy Cartwright Albert  His grandson, John (who is quite tall), is also known as Stumpy.
Swanee Harris Les
Tell-em-a-lie Marsh Ian
Thrippence Britton Graham  As a very small boy Graham lived in a terraced house near the Riverstone Royal Hotel. The licensee, Paddy Morgan said he was only as big as a threepence, our smallest coin at the time. The name stuck!
Tichey Drayton Arthur Son Graham also known as Tichey.
Tiger Locke Siddie
Tinhare Drayton Noel Richard Later known as Butch, he was “Tinhare” from schooldays as he was the fastest runner.
Tip Davis Arthur
Tit Tozer Bobby
Tont Tuckwell Teddy
Toodles Crowley Frank
Toot Johnston Brian
Toowoomera Beazley Archie
Tracker Justice Ian? Ross?
Treacle Alcorn Fred
Twinny  Crouch  Barry &/or Eric
Wangi  Schofield  Colin
Waxy  Eather
White  Charcoal
Wimpy  Symonds
Windy  Hall
Wingy  Mason  Frank
Wo  Boyd  Eric
Wo  Boyd  Laurence
Wobble You Weaver  Leslie
Wonka  Woods  Wally
Wop Baldwin  Ray

If you can fill in, add to or correct any of the given names that we are missing, please contact us and we will update this list .

The cleverest nickname I recall was back in 1955 when I was practice teaching at Concord Public School on a Year 4 class. The boy’s surname was Bishop and his mates called him “Pub”, short for “beer shop”!

Some nicknames can be the result of a small child’s early effort to pronounce a relative’s given name. I had three close relatives on my father’s side. Auntie Ivy, Auntie Vera and Uncle Jessop. My older brother, Bill called them “Why”, “Booa” and “Sheck”. My younger brother Rob and I continued using the nicknames. Sheck was the only one to lose his name when Superman comics became popular and Rob decided he was “Superman”. Sheck told Rob that he could beat Superman because he was “Joe Palooka”, another comic book hero. Sheck from then on became “Joe”. My mother, Why and Joe all died whilst I was still at high school and Booa (now also known as “Boo”) took my mother’s place in the raising of we three children.

She remained “Boo” until her death in 1975, aged 76. My three sons, their friends and the neighbourhood folk all called her “Boo”. I doubt if some of them knew her real name. Boo was also a great one for using nicknames. Almost every week she had friends visit her home, on the corner of George and Park Streets, for a cuppa and a chat. They were “Lew”, our Nanna Lewis from Mill Street, “Orky”, Treacle Alcorn’s wife, Annie, from Market Street and “Greenie”, Mrs Green from Piccadilly Street. Boo’s dearest friend was “Chalk”, Hilda Chalker, our next-door neighbour in Park Street. Neither of them owned a TV so Chalk visited Boo each evening for a chat and Boo would walk her home each night. Boo always walked Chalk home and we were often in bed when we heard “Goodnight Boo” and “Ni-night Chalk” called out as they parted company for the night at our gateway.