"None of us can fix this, or turn back the clock - as much as we want to do that for you. But to those of you who have lost so much, we hope you can enjoy today and know that your community does care," Mayor Rhonda Hoban said to fire-affected community members at yesterday's bushfire anniversary gathering.
"I've never been very religious, but I will say this: whatever your journey holds, may your god go with you, and your community walk beside you."
Over a hundred people attended the event put on at the Macksville Country Club.
Many volunteers who'd helped with the recovery were also there, their efforts recognised in a presentation.
Bunches of sunflowers and balloons invited a lighthearted atmosphere, but there was also room for sombre reflection.
A stunning series of self-portraits by Ilse Noble gave cathartic expression to the pain and ongoing malaise of loss.
Outside children played gleefully on a jumping castle and bucking bull.
And men gathered around tables, beers in hands, tall fishing tales and acts of derring-do overheard from snippets of conversation.
"Things will never be the same again," Cr Hoban said.
"But I hope today is a nice memory for the future when you look back at all you've been through."