A WORLD away from Sydney's ICAC hearings in a valley on the outskirts of the Upper Hunter, the last rays of sun trickle over the top of Mount Penny.
For the 50 or so residents who call the Bylong Valley home, this day's setting sun seemed even sweeter than the one that disappeared over the prominent mountain peak the day before.
Word had filtered through from Sydney only hours earlier, good news for a township that could do with a bit of luck.
After six months of hearings and more than 150 witnesses - including some who made the trip from Bylong - the Independent Commission Against Corruption had recommended criminal charges against former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid and mining minister Ian Macdonald over a dodgy mining deal that could still see a coalmine developed here.
The town had been following the story since friends and neighbours suddenly began selling up a few years ago.
While yesterday's findings of corruption were a "relief", residents weren't yet convinced Bylong had been saved.
"I was a little bit sceptical," Stuart Andrews, who has lived in Bylong for nearly four decades, said.
"In some ways it was a relief to think that ICAC have pushed forward for a public prosecutor to look into this.
"At least it means the corrupt business that has been going on will be looked into in more details and we can only hope for maybe some jail terms."
Mr Andrews said even if the Mount Penny mining exploration licence was cancelled, the town could still face problems in the future.
"My suspicions would be this exploration licence will be cancelled for the people that are involved in it at present but there is the possibility that it will be opened up on a larger front later down the track."
He said a mine at Bylong would "bring dust, noise, lights, extra traffic and extra people" to the "spectacular" and "beautiful" valley.
"We don't want to lose sight of the fact that these people who come in to do these things, if they come in and do everything by the book, then it falls back on the government," he said.
"They're the ones who approve these processes, they're the ones who approve these exploration licences, they're the ones who hand them out.
"We just have to keep clear our focus as to who we need to hold to account.
"These people stood to make a lot of money at the taxpayers' expense and the whole state of NSW should be absolutely disgusted."
Kevin Wheeler hoped the project would be put on hold for good.
"The ruling probably doesn't mean a great deal [for Bylong], only the fact that the Mount Penny project could be put on hold indefinitely, which would be a good thing for Bylong," Mr Wheeler said.
"We've got other problems with other mines on the opposite side of the valley.
"It's very disappointing that they're going to come into a pristine area like this and dig big holes in the ground and completely ruin it.
"Then they'll turn around and say 'Oh well we can put it back to the way it is'."
He said he was "pleased" criminal charges had been recommended against the key players.
"I think that people who've done the wrong thing deserve to be punished and they've obviously done the wrong thing so they've got to stand up and face it," he said.
Bev Smiles - a landowner in the Mount Penny exploration licence area - said residents had been living under a cloud for 2½ years.
"We've lost our neighbours and the lack of security has been very stressful so we're hoping the state government will pull the exploration licence altogether," she said.
"This case should put a clean sweep through the whole process of coal exploration licences so the process is done more transparently."
So where to from here for the tiny township that gained statewide attention?
"We'll just keep watching to see what happens I suppose and hope that maybe the exploration licence will be cancelled and never reissued, but we'll wait and see," Mr Andrews said.