The past 12 months have been tough, filled with mental challenges and physical restrictions.
No person or business has survived the pandemic unscathed but its impact has not been fairly distributed.
The Border region has been caught in the cross-fire of multiple border closures, communities and families separated because of infections and decisions made hundreds of kilometres.
The North East has been pummeled by repeated lockdowns and restrictions, while watching their neighbours in NSW enjoy comparative freedom.
It's hard to fathom that just 12 months ago COVID-19 restrictions were nonexistent.
Coronavirus had reached Australian shores - the first returned travellers diagnosed on January 25 - but it was merely a ripple on the surface of the country's consciousness.
The WHO hadn't even declared the outbreak a pandemic.
It's been a long year, one most won't forget for a long time, even if they'd like to.
But this week offered a glimmer of hope. A small light at the end of a long tunnel.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The rollout of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia this week marks our country's greatest hope yet of returning to normality.
To coincide with the distribution in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a further easing of restrictions.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews foreshadowed an announcement today, hotly anticipated to be a loosening of regulations and a return to COVID-Safe Summer protocol.
Even more significantly both state Premiers and federal health authorities have said the rollout of the vaccine marks the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
It's too early now to take to the streets to celebrate. It will be months until enough of the population is vaccinated for restrictions to ease to a point where life resembles anything like it did 12 months ago.
But with restrictions expected to ease and vaccinations under way we can only hope what they say is true.
That this is the beginning of the end.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: