Melted football goals and scattered fallen trees have failed to dampen the spirits of Cobargo's youngest community members as they celebrated the first day of the school year.
On New Year's Eve a bushfire claimed two lives, homes and other buildings in the historic town, west of Bermagui in southern NSW.
Cobargo Public School principal Gillian Park said the return to normality on Wednesday was exciting for all, with students taking it in their stride.
"For them it's just back to school," Ms Park told AAP on Wednesday.
"We let the kids know this morning there is no competition as to who suffered the most loss or who has been affected greater.
"Everyone has been affected and everyone has their personal story, we're all going to support each other and be kind to one another."
Ms Park said 17 students from 11 families lost their homes among the small school of 65 students.
She said students were excited to be back at school but staff expected displaced trauma to be an issue in the coming months.
"Trauma comes out in different ways," Ms Park said.
"We have counselling ready at the school but we will also have a teacher's aid in every classroom to provide extra support if a student is having a hard time."
Ms Park hoped the school would become a hub for the wider community, offering classes, workshops and events.
For Cobargo parent Clare Rugendyke, the return of the school year brings normality to her family.
Although Ms Rugendyke was fortunate to retain her home, she said the devastation has affected everyone in the community.
"My parents lost everything which has been pretty hard, it has a real flow-on effect," Ms Rugendyke told AAP on Tuesday.
Ms Rugendyke said she could not work as much during the school holidays to support her family as her parents were unable to tend to her two children.
"My parents' property still hasn't been cleared yet and I don't expect they'll be able to rebuild soon, we're looking at 12 months," she said.
"It's still quite confronting going to their place."
Eager to help Cobargo Public School before the beginning of term, Gold Coast-based teachers Amanda Wilkinson and Kylie Ricardo started a campaign two weeks ago sourcing essential school items.
"We originally had a goal of 100 schoolbags in mind but very quickly that grew to 400 and then we ended up with 1200," Ms Wilkinson told AAP on Tuesday.
"It started as a post on social media and just grew, we had people donating everywhere from Hervey Bay to Kingscliff and Ipswich."
Ms Park and Ms Rugendyke agreed the support shown in donations for their community had been overwhelming.
"The kids loved being able to come in and choose their backpack because they don't usually have a lot of choice here," Ms Park said.
"Many of the students said this was the best shopping experience they've ever had."
Australian Associated Press