Follow the progress of the upcoming Epic Australia WWI Feature Film, Beneath Hill 60 as it goes overseas and onto DVD. From the Development, Pre Production to the Shoot and Post Production up to it's release in the Cinemas and now on DVD and BLU RAY, from Paramount, from August 19, 2010.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

CREW PROFILE: Caroline Baum talks to on-set nurse, Bernadette Kersh.

Bernadette Kersh tending to SFX Supervisor, Dan Oliver.

Bernie Kersh prefers having nothing to do. 

She’s the on-location nurse for the production and ap

art from standing on the sideline

s keeping a vigilant eye on the action, she  hopes not to be called on. So far, she’s only had to attend to minor cuts as people hit their heads on the tunnels, un-used to how low they are... and she’s administering  decongestants as people find it hard to breathe due to the amount of dust in the air. Fortunately all the serious wounds on set are fake, courtesy of the make up team. 

Beneath Hill 60 is Bernie’s first experience of  being an on-set nurse. But she is  used to dramatic real-life situations - as a nurse at Townsville General Hospital she’s looked after premature babies in the Intensive Care Unit and she’s also had extensive experience  in the mines around the city, dealing with industrial accidents in high-risk situations. 

‘It was a bit of a dare going into that world’ says  Bernie. ‘I just answered an ad in the paper ..I thought the work I had done in Africa had prepared me for pretty much anything, Traveling in Kenya, I had worked in a remote, very poor  orphanage and set up a mobile wound clinic to 

deal with things like flesh eating bug infections, machete slashes, child abuse burns and ulcers due to poor nutrition .’

She found herself as one of the small group of women working among four to five hundred blokes at the Gunpowder mine four hours west of Mount Isa. ‘They always rib you at first  and check out ‘the new meat’ , as they call you. But I grew up with seven brothers so I could handle it. I wore an  engagement ring at first, which was a tip I got from Connor (one of her brothers, who is also an investor in the film). It made everyone feel safer.’

Bernie learned to use full breathing apparatus so she could go down into the mines in case she needed to. ‘ I like it down there!’ she says. ‘There’s a great sense of fellowship.’ 

She dealt with severe crushing injuries, heart attacks and death with her usual down-to- earth calm and compassion. 

‘I was born with club feet and I think having had surgery at a very early age has made me  better able to empathise with people, whether it’s the patient, or, in the case of tiny babies, their parents, who are suffering just as much,’ says Bernie, who would like to extend her experience in ICU into  combining her skills  wit

h education to work with underprivileged kids or  NGOs like Medecins sans Frontieres.

When she’s not  on duty, Bernie’s favourite way to relax is ‘hanging out at my mum’s place (not far from the location for the Waddell homestead) with the horses, friends and family around a camp fire with a guitar - or ten pin bowling, at which I’m hopeless but it’s a great laugh!’

Bernie with orphaned twins, William and Willikista, in Kenya.

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Beneath Hill 60

Beneath Hill 60
Click on the DVD to visit the Official website