"It's all I've got to show after 80 years."
Frank and Lynette Condello have lived on Tierney Road at Yatte Yattah for 28 years. Their home is probably more well-known for the Yatte Yattah Nursery with Frank deciding to start the business shortly after moving.
It was a hub off the Princes Highway that so many older residents and green thumbs found comfort at.
People came for the cafe, views of the forest and farm land, bonsai collection, plants and scones.
Now, there's nothing left to salvage after the New Year's Eve blaze ripped through the area and destroyed the nursery, home and cafe and nearby historic buildings including the former Yatte Yattah post office and school house.
Photographs, wedding rings, decades of business paperwork, tools, plants, mowers, tractors and about 95 per cent of bonsai collection, with some started more than half-a-century ago, were destroyed. Friends have taken a few in the hope they could be revived.
But, most upsetting was the death of their male border collie.
"He was a beautiful dog, but the vets couldn't save him. The younger one, the female, she's still at the vet now and I get to pick her up today [Friday]."
In a matter of minutes the blowtorch lit the nursery, cafe and trees along the driveway on New Year's Eve. Frank tried to put out spotfires, but the hot fire was "supercharged" by the hot north-westerly.
"The cafe and the nursery just went up like a bomb."
Frank, Lynette and cafe manager Leonie retreated closer and closer to the house. Frank had a firefighting pump and hose near the house, but the hose was too hot to pick up.
After getting inside the house, they were there for a few minutes when Frank heard the smoke alarms start.
"I looked up to the ceilings and the whole house was on fire," he said.
"The ceiling just suddenly burst into fire. There's nothing I could do about it. I said 'we're gonna have to get out of here because if you don't, you're going to get killed'."
The trio left through the back door and hopped in the white sedan in the car port. Frank spotted a patch of grass that wasn't burnt in the gully over the back fence.
They got around the fence and then sat there, in the car, for about 55 minutes, he said.
After the front passed, Frank got out and whistled for their dogs. Both came running through the flames.
The ordeal was something Frank will never forget.
"It was horrific, the most horrific thing I have ever experienced," he said.
"The whole paddock was on fire. My shed was on fire. The house next door, not far from me, was on fire. The whole area was just a massive inferno."
Frank is unsure if he will restart his business. The fire may have forced his retirement, a jarring start to what should be his golden years.
"We've had calls from far-and-wide, from Sydney, all my suppliers, they've been in contact with me," he said.
"They say 'what are you going to do'?
"I say 'what are you going to do at 80?' [We've] probably got enough time to clean the site up, build a nice home again.
"They say 'what about the business?'
"I said 'I really don't know at this stage, it will be very difficult. I liked doing it. I just liked plants and I liked the customers. I could always have a joke. But, here we are now."
As Frank walks around the damage, three friends call in to shake his hand or give him a hug and ask how he is doing. Support for the couple has been "overwhelming", he said.
Dr Paul Rothe took in Frank and Lynette for a few days, Craig Saunders of Saunders Mensland clothed him for free, Coles said there were no charges when Lynette went to buy groceries, the chemist did not charge them for their medications and they've now been housed in a granny flat near the shore of Lake Conjola.
"People have been coming out of the woodwork offering houses to take the hassle away. It is quite overwhelming. The generosity was just pouring in and I mean pouring in."