Gilbert nurses gratitude

Gracie Gilbert as nurse Tessa Gordon.

She may have only a fleeting part in Nine’s sweeping war drama, Gallipoli, but for WA-raised actress Gracie Gilbert, portraying an Australian nurse stationed in Egypt during World War I is among the most memorable roles of her career.

Appearing in the first of Monday’s episodes as young nurse Tessa Gordon, who was deployed to Cairo to help care for Australian soldiers wounded on the front line in Gallipoli, Bayswater-reared Gilbert says being involved in the project was a big honour.

“The scripts had been beautifully written and I felt very grateful to be given the opportunity to be a very small part of it,” Gilbert says by phone from Sydney.

“It’s a very important part of our Australian history and, as a young actor, it’s a real honour to have a small part in telling that story.

“The cinematography is gorgeous and the director Glendyn (Ivin) has done an unbelievable job putting it together.”

As much as the 22-year-old looks the part clad in the specially designed nurse uniform, she set out to do her own research ahead of filming and even found herself digging through World War I archives.

“I read a lot of diary entries written by lots of the nurses,” she recalls.

“And what struck me most as I was reading them, I wanted these big descriptions as to how they were feeling and what it was they were faced with on a day-to-day basis and as I read and read, I realised none of them were writing that in their diaries, they were speaking about how heroic the soldiers were. I think it was really a testament to the bravery and selflessness of these women.”

Soon returning to TV screens in season two of Love Child, things are about to get busier for Gilbert, who, with fellow WA-raised stars Jessica Marais and Mandy McElhinney, will begin filming a third season of the 1970s-set drama later this year.

“Love Child is a project that I hold very near and dear to my heart,” she says. “We have a very close-knit cast and crew and we all feel so passionately about the stories that we’re telling and the filming of Love Child is a really special part of the year for us.”

Gallipoli airs on Monday at 9pm on Nine/WIN.