A HARDENED splotch of metal sits atop a Bushells tea caddy.
Not much bigger than an adult hand, it looks like a small nugget of gold but in fact is a piece of brass.
It was a fitting for a gas tank but is now a souvenir and a relic for those gathered near the table on which it lies.
It is a reminder for David Lyons of the hell which descended on his mountain valley last New Year's Eve.
"Brass has a melting point of around 900 degrees - that shows me just how hot it got," the former school teacher said.
"It gives you an idea of the intensity of the firestorm."
The trio sheltered in a bunker for hours as a fire, which had begun days earlier more than 80 kilometres away near Dunns Road, west of Adelong, reached them on the morning of December 31.
Their hideout, away from the house, was a Hebel brick structure that was shielded by a spray gun showering water as they waited.
"There's a certain resignation that sets in, there's nothing you can do," Mr Lyons said.
"We didn't try and save anything, we took the dogs, a couple of firearms, because I thought I would have to destroy stock, and then it was a matter of listening for the rain gun."
Vanessa Keenan added: "We were listening for the sounds of the sprinklers every 30 seconds to a minute, when I heard that I thought the pump is still going, the house is still standing and we're okay, instead of thinking it's armageddon.
"It was like checking for a heartbeat."
Colleen Keenan had packed a suitcase and was hugging chihuahuas Carlos and Winnie to her chest as she sat in the bunker.
"I wasn't afraid, it was 'okay this is happening' and you go into a different level, fortunately I have never been a fusser or a screamer," she said.
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Mr Lyons described himself as "totally calm" during the maelstrom.
"The fire itself didn't affect me, it was just the damage that was done with it," Mr Lyons said.
When the trio stepped out of their shelter in the afternoon they found themselves on an island of green amid a sea of black.
While the home block was saved, earth to its fence line was scorched and the shed that contained that brass fitting was ruined with a LandCruiser and tractor destroyed.
Over seven kilometres of fencing was wrecked, with wooden posts cast widely, and around 60 tonne of grapes leased for winemaking were a write-off.
Power was out for a month and though the pitch-dark ground has turned emerald and leaves sprout from trunks of gums there is still much emotional healing left to do.
"It's still very much a part of my daily life, it's made a permanent impact on my life definitely in a negative way and a positive way," Vanessa Keenan said.
"Every day you get ash on your hands, your firewood is all burnt out, so you're constantly reminded when you're outside here."
The Wagga councillor has undergone counselling to cope with the fallout.
"I did it for myself because my day-to-day life was being impacted and my personal resilience and my reserves were gone," Cr Keenan said.
"I knew it was important, not only for myself but for others because I thought I was totally drained and a lot of the other work I do is pretty stressful stuff."
Mr Lyons has faced the enormous task of rebuilding and has been fortunate in being able to divide time between the farm and Colleen Keenan's property in Albury.
"You'd come up here and put in two or three days and feel slightly sick," he said.
"I had a mate in Vietnam that saw action and I've said to him 'I now know what you're talking about when you're speaking about stress syndrome'.
"I'd get this sickly, empty feeling and have to lie down for 20 minutes and half an hour until it went.
"It was almost a daily occurrence for three to four weeks."
While the trio endured a terrifying experience, others also along their dead-end road suffered, with Eudlo, Mr Lyons' childhood home at its turn-off burnt down.
"It was a relief (when it was cleared by contractors), you can move on from that, you're out of the stunned stage and into the recovery stage," he said.
A big boost for the rejuvenation of the property has been the work of volunteers from fire recovery organisation BlazeAid.
They have included a couple from Argentina, two Italians and an American who gathered at nearby Tooma through the coronavirus lockdown.
Genoveva Cabrera, 27, and her boyfriend Juan Giusti, 29, from the city of Cordoba, north-west of Buenos Aires, had been in Sydney at the start of a year-long holiday in Australia when COVID-19 erupted.
They opted to quit the city and saw an ad for kitchen staff at the Tooma Inn and after spending $4000 on a Mitsubishi van found themselves repairing fire-ruined fences.
Having watched coverage of the fires on television at home, the pair had some knowledge of the disaster but were shocked to see the damage firsthand.
Nevertheless, they realise their contribution amounts to more than just the obvious repair work.
"I think BlazeAid is not only about fencing, it's about help and new energy," Miss Cabrera said.
"The farmers are kind of sad and need to have a new energy that helps more than fencing."
That sentiment is shared by Mr Lyons who is extremely grateful for the "fantastic" BlazeAid team which has repaired wires and posts which run along very steep terrain and protect the farm from brumbies and deer.
It is not only those from far-flung lands that have assisted.
Sikhs travelled from distant places to provide food and just a month ago members of the Tumbarumba Community Church distributed vouchers for firewood to be redeemed through a supplier at Rosewood.
Having gone through such an experience, the trio also realise their situation is not as bad as others hit by the summer fires.
"I am just amazed at David's ability and long term planning because he saved our lives and saddened for other people because they did lose a lot more than what we did," Colleen Keenan said.
Mr Lyons remarked: "There's people that have had far greater losses than what we've had here and there's also some losses that people can't recover from.
"There is a disparity and unfairness that people, through no fault of their own, haven't got the wherewithal."
Cr Keenan, a Labor Party member wants recommendations from the current bushfire Royal Commission to be adopted and is concerned $50 million earmarked by the federal government for natural disaster mitigation has not been spent.
"When I heard that the other day it was gut-wrenching, because you're now closer to the next fire season than the previous one," she said.
For things to be better some changes need to come from the top brass.