IT'S been almost two years since the proposed forced merger between Bathurst and Oberon councils was officially abandoned.
Bathurstians, on the whole, seemed either unaware or uninterested about the proposed amalgamation, but the anger was red hot from residents of this city's southern neighbour.
There were rallies, letters to the editor, a letterbox drop in Bathurst, drawn-out court challenges.
The Oberon Anti-Amalgamation Committee was adamant then that Oberon was doing just fine as it was and would continue to do just fine by itself in the future.
And in the end, there was a "Democracy Day" celebration in Oberon when the forced merger was called off after the resignation of premier Mike Baird and the ascension of Gladys Berejiklian.
Last week, however, Oberon mayor Kathy Sajowitz issued an interesting warning to her town: "We cannot survive in isolation."
The warning came not because Cr Sajowitz wants to rethink Oberon's opposition to any merger, but because she wants to avoid the danger of it ever coming back up again.
Addressing concerns about Oberon's membership of a joint organisation of councils (she said she had heard it described as amalgamation by stealth), Cr Sajowitz was admirably blunt about some of the challenges facing her council.
"We need to grow as a town and be relevant regionally," she said. "We cannot survive in isolation."
She said the town's "rate base is small, our service obligations to the community are growing daily, our demographic is changing and it is a balancing act to grow whilst maintaining the character of the town".
Regional relevance. The challenge of a small rate base. Isolation. It was impossible to read these words and not hear an echo of the protracted, pitched merger fight of two years ago.
The essence of that fight was proud Oberon residents' profound desire to simply be left alone.
Their mayor, however, has reminded them that there is sometimes strength in numbers - lobbying strength, purchasing strength, advocacy strength.
There's pride and then there's practicality.
The council that was, only two years ago, going to be Bathurst's shotgun bride has to get the right mix of both those qualities if it hopes not just to survive, but to thrive into the future.