Their scars have barely healed after waging a protracted battle against AGL turning the Gloucester basin into a coal seam gas field.
However, the war is far from over for the fractured community now the amended Rocky Hill Coal project in on public exhibition.
The idea of developing a relatively small open cut mining operation only 900metres from a 35 home residential estate in Forbesdale on productive agricultural land was first proposed by Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) in 2012.
Initially the concept included the construction of major pieces of infrastructure, like a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant and a Rail Load-out facility, operating at night-time and four open-cut pits.
So as the planning process dictates those opposed, including Forbesdale resident Denise Gilbert, submitted their objections in September 2013.
In June 2015 the CEO of the Rocky Hill Coal Project, Grant Papworth, asked the Department of Planning and Environment to place their application “on hold and not progress it any further”.
The new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is dated August 2016 and according the department the key changes include: three open cut pits instead of four, no night-time work and the construction of a haul road to the nearby Stratford Coal mine.
“This means the Rocky Hill project would therefore not need a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant or a rail loop and train loading bin, or a coal conveyor,” the department spokesperson says.
If developed the mine would produce two million tonnes of coal per year for up to 21 years, and at its peak employ 110 people.
Mrs Gilbert says they have been living in limbo since 2012 and this uncertainty has seen the value of her property slump.
Worse still they will have to re-submit their objections, and start the waiting game all over again.
She moved to the area after her husband retired.
“Gloucester ticked all the boxes for us so it’s been really heartbreaking to come here and not only be in a community that has been split and affected by CSG and coal mining but we are right in the firing line,” she says.
“Along with some neighbours we are on the edge of the valley and if it goes ahead we will overlook it. At the moment it is quite beautiful, there’s the diary farm, and the grazing land, and the little airstrip - all of that will go if the mine proceeds.”
“We just think the mine is too close; not only to close to us but the rest of the town. We are really concerned about the physical health impacts, the dust, the noise and the vibrations from blasting. The visual amenity is going to be terrible.”
Mrs Gilbert says the situation is taking its toll on the mental health of many in the community.
She reveals constantly thinking about what the future holds in terms of plummeting property values is depressing people.
While others are ignoring the issue, hoping it will go away, or leaving it up to others to fight because they don’t have the capacity to.
“It’s really hard coming back this time after the first Rocky Hill EIS, then AGL and now here we are again.”
She says it’s hard because the process of opposing such a development “totally dominates your life”.
Groundswell Gloucestor, chairperson Julie Lyford, says it’s fair to say the majority of the community is devastated we have to go through this “flawed” process again.
She explains mines are rarely not approved which means the government continues to ignore the majority of work communities do in response to EIS’s.
“There is no faith and trust in the integrity of government and the processes around mining and resource extraction,” Ms Lyford says.
“We have minister who sees communities, like us, Bulga, and elsewhere, as fodder. We will fight with every avenue we have to show this is a mine that should never be contemplated in this valley for many reasons, especially for downstream users.”
She says the amended project threatens to undo all the good work that is being undertaken to promote Gloucester as a tourist destination and a great place to live.
“At last we finally have the chamber of commerce working together with Tourism on Destination Gloucester, they were all down in Sydney at the regional lifestyle expo along with the ex Mayor, John Rosenbaum encouraging people to visit and relocate to Gloucester. This is a really positive stuff that we were doing years ago when I was Mayor.”
“However, people stopped coming when we started going into this Stratford /Rocky Hill extension and AGL scenario.”
“Prior this we had one per cent growth which was quite unusual, there were only three rural towns in NSW experiencing growth and we were one of them.”
“We finally have everyone working together to get the town back on it feet with tourism and agriculture and now we have a mine that is going to decimate all the good work of the whole community.”
She is adamant the vast majority of the Gloucester community, and downstream users, are against the mine.
Up to this point so has the council but she is worried recent local government reforms may cause this position to change.
Gloucester was forced to merge with the Greater Taree City and Great Lakes areas to from the Midcoast Council.
Former national MP, John Turner has been appointed as Administrator.
Mr Turner has strong ties to the mining industry, and in July resigned from the position of chairman of the community consultative committee for Whitehaven Coal.