When I arrive to interview Bellingen's Citizen of the Year Barbara Moore, I find her busy sorting out her life.
She's lived by herself for more than 20 years, in a house nestled under the mountains at Gleniffer on the Mid North Coast of NSW, but she's not only decluttering, she's also processing great stacks of documents.
The piles of paper covering the dining room table relate to presentations on community resilience that she researched and wrote as part of her role with NSW State Emergency Service, while the boxes full of records on the floor are testament to decades of leading the fight to maintain and upgrade services at Bellingen Hospital.
In February of last year, Barbara was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer - stage four glioblastoma multiforme in the motor cortex area - and given a prognosis of 12-18 months.
It's incurable, but surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy have been slowing its progress. The treatment and the disease have slowed her down, too.
"There's two areas of utter frustration," Barbara said. "One is the mobility issue and the other is fatigue."
She's now using a walker to get around the house and a ride-on mower to navigate the 12-acre property.
Family and friends are helping and she's entitled to more services than she's using, but maintaining independence for as long as possible is important too.
So grab rails have been installed inside and she has a LiveLife Personal Alarm set to alert five people if she needs help.
"I'm determined to still do what I can," she said. "Yesterday I was mowing with the ride-on for three hours. I was absolutely knackered."
A pharmacist by profession, Barbara moved to Bellingen from Sydney in January 1989, accompanied by her mother, who was ill and died two years later.
Barbara bought the Hyde St pharmacy and ran it for 15 years, working 12-hour days, six days a week.
Somehow she also found time to be active in the community: she resurrected a Bellingen flower-focused festival with street parades and decorated shops called The Azalea Affair, and she also became president of the Bellingen Hospital Action Group, which was trying to curb the Area Health Service's appetite for shrinking services.
But it was after she retired in April 2004, aged 55, that she really began to work.
She joined the Bellingen SES and became adept at helping people through times of travail, both on the ground, chainsawing fallen trees, deploying tarpaulins on roofs and searching for missing people, and also behind the scenes, taking phone calls and dispatching warnings and serving as community engagement officer.
In 2018, she was officially recognised by the SES with a Commissioner's Letter of Appreciation for her work with community engagement.
In 2010, her work with BHAG revved up when NSW Health threatened to close Bellingen Hospital.
Deemed unsafe, it was saved when the community rallied to fundraise and campaign for capital works and refurbishments.
At a morning tea celebrating $350,000 being spent on the repair and development of the building's once ailing roof, MNC board member Warren Grimshaw singled out for particular mention "long-term agitator" Barbara Moore.
"It wasn't just me, I was the spokesperson," Barbara said. "I was the face of the masses. I walk down the street and people still say, 'thanks for saving our hospital'. And I say, 'it wasn't me, it was the community that did it!'"
She's also been energetically involved with establishing the hospital's Wellness Garden over the last five years and working in the hospital's volunteer-run cafe, Mary's Tea House.
Other contributions she's made to the community include being steward for the Fruit and Veg section of the Bellingen Show and providing a one-woman concierge and logistics service for musicians at the Bellingen Fine Music Festival, arranging accommodation, transport and maps for them and making sure there's food readily available that takes into account any dietary restrictions.
"I've had a more diverse and colourful life in retirement," Barbara said, before disclosing that alongside all the volunteering work, she's also had a major passion project on the go for the last 16 years.
It's a B&B facility called The Chapel, which is still not quite finished.
While building her current house, she went to Sydney to get Victorian-era tiles from a place called Architectural Heritage in Glebe and fell in love with a set of 12 stained glass windows over two metres tall.
"I was absolutely gobsmacked. I thought, how can I fit those into my house?"
She couldn't, not without losing her views and light, but what she could do was build another house on the property.
Inspired by travels in Europe where she soaked up all the history on offer, Barbara has created an extravagant pastiche of medieval architecture, complete with gargoyles on the walls, stone lions by the front steps, and a spiral cast iron staircase ascending to a tower bedroom with ramparts.
The main hall that accommodates the stained glass windows - which she restored herself - also has chandeliers of her own design that she commissioned Planet Lighting to build.
She's currently employing people to finish off the landscaping and tweak the electricals to make the building ready for its final inspection.
Apart from that, there are just "a few other bits and pieces" remaining to be done: "Which I'm physically not capable of doing," Barbara said.
"I've got too much to do and I physically can't do it, so I'm just going to have to ask people or pay people to come in and do it for me."
Janene Carey is a senior journalist with the Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun, a publication on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
"I've only lived in Bellingen for a few years. When I interviewed Barbara Moore for this story, I knew about a few of her achievements but certainly not all. She astonished me with how much she has packed into her life, particularly in retirement, which was when she really got to work on making a difference to the community! And to top it off, in her spare time she's been crafting a strange and beautiful medieval-style second house on her property."