The sign on Tingha's pub door reads 'CLOSED TODAY: R.I.P JOHNNY' as a village in shock reels from the death of one of their own.
Police have yet to formally identify the man who died in a house fire on Monday morning, but the community know they are mourning a "great man".
Neighbour and 000 caller Sigrid Perkuhn felt something wasn't right when she missed seeing the man's distinctive car leave at breakfast time that morning.
"I was surprised, normally I see him going out, but I didn't see his car coming out this morning," she told the Times.
She said she called the emergency number at about 8am, after hearing two loud, booming sounds from outside.
"I heard 'boom, boom' and then I saw the smoke," she told the Times.
"I got on the phone straight away and called 000 and said 'quick quick, there's a fire on Museum Street in Tingha'. I said 'you can't miss it'."
Another neighbour Colleen Jones, said you just didn't expect something to happen like this in a small town like Tingha.
"My partner was sitting at the table and having a coffee like he normally does and reading his stories on his iPad," she said, before he reached for the phone to dial triple zero as well.
"He woke me up and told me what was happening, and I got dressed and quickly came up to have a look.
"We heard someone calling out his name ... it's terrible."
We are investigating the circumstances, and will identify him as soon as possible.Cameron Paine
Officer in Charge of Inverell Police Station Sergeant Cameron Paine said the official identification had not been made yet.
"We are investigating the circumstances, and will identify him as soon as possible," he told the Times on Monday afternoon.
Gazing out across her front lawn at the completely destroyed shell of the house, Ms Perkuhn said the man would occasionally help her with her bins, making sure they were right for collection.
The Tingha Pub told the Times they were "taking the day to process his loss".
"He was a great man" a spokesman said.
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