A pub is a odd place to find pastoral care.
But in small bushfire-affected communities across NSW like Batlow, Tumbarumba, Nelligen and Cobargo, the local watering holes have been the unexpected touch-points of community care, fundraising, emergency accommodation and support.
Cobargo publican Dave Allen is just one of many who has has gone above and beyond to support his traumatised town.
For months, the Cobargo Hotel has hosted entourages of politicians, recovery agency chiefs, sports teams (including the Canberra Raiders), government and defence personnel, non-government agencies and media from around the world.
He's lost count of the times he's told how he dragged the pub's fire hose out the front door and kept the firefront at bay across the highway and in the nearby riverbed on that fateful New Year's Eve, and how the tiny community has struggled through the aftermath, including the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
It's been both stressful and time-consuming for Mr Allen but he's weathered it all with good grace and forbearance in the knowledge it's been a way to keep a focus on the recovery needs of the town and its people.
He's been a counsellor, life coach, coordinator and through his business, a provider for thousands of people.
However, since the cautious lifting of the coronavirus restrictions of the past four months, he remains troubled by what he describes as an "unfilled void" which remains in the recovery effort for Cobargo.
He said that "on-ground" leadership of the effort was not being provided, nor any clear communication to the townspeople about what was being done, what is planned for the future and where they could go for help.
"The arrival of defence personnel here back in January and February was a real shot in the arm for us because they are people with a real command and control structure," Mr Allen said.
"They had a reporting structure and way of itemising what they did, and reporting back on their progress.
"But when they left, that reporting, that command structure, just vanished. And we're now left with this void."
He said there were around 1000 houses lost or affected in some way by the summer bushfires, stretching from Batemans Bay to the Victorian border "and many more further north and inland of here".
Hundreds of the homes destroyed by the fires have had sites cleared and levelled, with costs covered by NSW and Commonwealth governments, by contractors Laing O'Rourke, which is using the parking area behind his hotel as their temporary depot. Hundreds more people are still waiting, and months of site-clearing remains ahead.
"What we have is this whole raft of caring people - philanthropic groups, labour charities like Team Rubicon and Blaze Aid, charities and government agencies - all providing support but there's no-one here with their boots on the ground managing and coordinating that effort," he said.
"So when someone asks, 'who's in charge in Cobargo? Who's in charge in Quaama'?' I just don't have an answer. No-one can tell us."
He said it was the "granular-level" detail that isn't being collated and properly assessed and like many other concerned residents in the town, he knows of many people who have "fallen through the cracks".
Mr Allen said with winter arriving to the South Coast, the one critical factor was appropriate temporary accommodation.
"People are out there are still living in caravans and under tarps. They don't have proper toilets or showers," he said.
"And it's getting colder by the week. Some of these people are elderly and they're vulnerable. They haven't got a water supply and are having to come into town to fill their IBCs (water tanks).
"Out on their bush blocks, people are turning on their gas cookers at night to heat their vans and they have to remember to turn them off before bed because of the safety risk."
Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest's Minderoo Foundation charity has developed its "recovery pod": compact, temporary, self-contained, on-site accommodation with its own generator and water tank. Around 100 are earmarked for NSW and 10 already have gone to Bega Valley shire residents.
"The Minderoo pods are a great idea but we need about six, seven, or eight times that many. And soon, before winter sets in," Mr Allen said.
He was contacted by a mining company in WA which offered more than 200 self-contained "dongas" - temporary work-camp housing for miners - which were sitting unused.
People are out there are still living in caravans and under tarps. They don't have proper toilets or showers.Cobargo publican Dave Allen
"I reached out to [NSW Deputy Premier] John Barilaro on this and got a nice letter back saying about what's being done. But like many people, he [Barilaro] is sitting at the macro level. There's no-one here, or at Quaama, or at Mallacoota, operating at the micro level," he said.
"If we had someone in charge who could say, 'right, we'll have those [dongas]', they could be trucked across here in a few weeks."
He described the mental health of the Cobargo community as "fragile".
"Again, it's all about mental health counsellors being here week-in, week-out, getting out into the backblocks in a four-wheel drive, and genuinely seeing how people are going," he said.
"People have fallen through the cracks and they're invisible to the support agencies; they might be completely uninsured, under-insured, and people who have built their house without a council DA [development application] and don't want to put their hand up for help because they're worried the council will come down on them like a tonne of bricks."