Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

A great line from one of the English period dramas that are so often seen here on tv, was 'I am often forced to depend on the kindness of strangers', meaning she would trade sex for money, or whatever.

The kindness of strangers is a wonderous thing. Actually, although I haven't met them, I do consider these people friends, not strangers. They certainly are at the very least blog mates.

The witty, interesting, cutting and marvellous Ann O'Dyne has been very busy with some genealogical (read that word carefully) research. It seems we have a common ancestor on my mother's side of the family and we are back to eighteenth century in Oxfordshire and other places. Oh god, that must mean I am also related to Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore. My great grandmother's maiden name was Chochrane, hence Chochranes Road in Moorabbin, the area where the Chocranes lived. All sorts of bits and pieces are turning up and isn't it kind of Ann to put in so much work. It has excited me to really get stuck into family research.

This is a pretty good site online to make a start on a family tree.

Victor is only a tiny bit older than me, is gay and lives in Sydney. I can forgive him for the Sydney bit. Gay men of our age have many things in common, just because we grew up around the same time and we are now older gay men and have lived through the times of gays being invisible and boi on boi mounting illegal to almost acceptance. I also seem to have quite a bit on common personally with Victor. He recently visited an exhibition at the Sydney Museum and thoughtfully bought this pictured fridge magnet with old Sydney tram destinations on it and sent it to me. Pretty kewl hey. It can be broken up, but I like it intact. Isn't that a nice thing to do? Thanks Victor.

The 5.09 tram to Lilyfield is now departing Railway Square. Stand clear. And a bit of trivia. Sydney trams never used route numbers but symbols, some of which are displayed on the magnet.


  1. You're welcome, Andrew.

    By the way, I think 'I am often forced to depend on the kindness of strangers' comes from Tennesee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

  2. No Cochranes from Castlemaine/Campbell's Creek/Chewton/Bendigo area?

    Love the fridge magnet!
    And how civilised to use symbols instead of route numbers that can be changed to every other combination known to mankind lol.

  3. Jane knows everything! Plenty of Cochranes in the old Bendigo records ... and she shoots in like a Bondi TRAM. If that one was still running, the symbol would be Dollar Signs, rampant.

    I love Highrisers typo first 'h' into Cochranes to make me think about chocolate. Good thing he didn't put a 'k' in it at that second 'h'.

    It was indeed Blanche DuBois sahyin, in
    'Streetcar With The Destination Symbol DESIRE'
    "Ah must relah ohn the kahndness of Strahngers" ... as do we all.

  4. From living in Sydney at times, I know the buses sometimes display a Very Logical Sign -
    'Set-Down Only' - which means:
    There is another bus up our arse so please hail IT not us, as we are only letting passengers Off this one.
    I wish Melb trams would adopt it.

  5. Dear Andrew, you sweet thing.
    I am obsessed with the history of Victoria prior to the goldrush of 1851.
    The arrivals bonded on the journey out here, often went to the same places, and their children married others who had been children on the same boats. Often they had embarked from the same villages. They wrote home and others followed them, possibly to get away from snow and snobbery (there was no middle class at that time, prior to the industrial revolution).

    Your Cochrane must have known that fraudster-opportunist Henry Dendy, who arrived here clutching a letter allowing him to just assume ownership of the 3000 acres where Brighton now is. Brighton started out as it meant to go on - the locale of shady money.
    I am not saying your Cochrane approved of Henry of course, but none of us can afford to buy in Cochrane Street now, but my grandparents bought in Cole St without needing a bankloan in 1948. Presbyterians!

  6. Victor and FG. I can't remember it from Streetcar but it was certainly in this Brit series. Obviously not original writing. I can't believe I misspelt Cochrane twice.

    For future investigation Jayne. Which tram do I catch to Bronte? The one with the white triangle over a red bar. Very messy I think. I will stick with route numbers.

    Ann, that would be a fight against human nature and harder to do with trams.

  7. Ah Ann, while not sent out here as criminals, perhaps there were some criminal associations. I hope so. They all seem very middle class and boring.

  8. Hi Andrew

    Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire says, 'I've always relied on the kindness of strangers' as she's being carted off to the funny farm by a nice man in a white coat. I don't know where your quote comes from but obviously the context is entirely different. I'm pretty sure Tennessee Williams is the originator - I think we would have heard otherwise by now.



  9. Bless Pants. As a pro writer, you would not say so if wasn't true. Still different to what Ann said. I think it is a different context in the Brit series. Please no one ask me to go and prove it or find the source. All I recall is a red haired bloke who was neglectful of his wife. She was in Paris in a nice drawing room and that was when she said, ok it is memory, not verbatim, I have often had to depend on the kindness of strangers. Thanks for dropping in Pants. I so much want to argue with you. Isn't it time to turn comments back on? From my own head I have a pending post, Never Been Kissed Before. You know what it is about. You have done it already.

  10. I was just speaking with a patient of mine tonight about tracing my Grandma's heritage back... she claimed to be one of the stolen generation..she was bought up in a home in West Wylong NSW. My mum profusely denied being any part of Aboriginal, but my nan maintained her story, and so my mum had problems with that. Without going into it in much detail, the patient I looked after gave me some great places to start my tracing.. A Koori place she said. So I will begin my search this week. Will let you know what I find. I am even going to go back to where my nan was raised, Kenmore girls home was the name of the place :)

  11. If it's St Joseph's Girls Home in Kenmore, you'll have a plethora of info through the Catholic records, Cazzie.
    Also contact Link Up they're a great help in tracing family ;)

  12. How do you go throwing a boomerang Cazzie? Would be interesting to find out wouldn't it. Do let us know what you come up with?


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