GALLERY: Jenko's final summer at Coledale

Holiday revellers at Coledale caravan park will miss its beloved caretaker, Norm Jenkins, when he retires in April next year.

Since he began his role eight years ago, the park has become even more popular and many problems, such as graffiti on the toilets, has disappeared.

But despite all the praise from campers, Mr Jenkins did not believe his work there was newsworthy.

"I just check everything's running right," he said.

"Get rid of anybody that is causing problems, if they're over noisy, get too drunk.

"It's certainly been interesting."

After retiring, the former farmer planned to go back to Queensland to spend time with his three children.

"I'm going back to Queensland for a while to catch up with my family, grandchildren, brothers," he said.

"Then I'll probably start travelling again.

"I'll come back down here as a holiday camper; I've got a caravan.

"Then move on to the south."

A nomadic lifestyle appealed to him, he said: "I just couldn't see myself sitting in the one spot."

At the caravan park, one of the best parts was "watching the young ones grow up", he said.

Marcus Beattie, 17, was one of those children, as he had been holidaying in the park for 10 years.

"Jenko is a good guy, he's always there for everyone, always good for a laugh," he said.

Over this time, Marcus and his brothers had formed many friendships with other campers and enjoyed the relaxed lifestyle.

Marcus's father, Scott Beattie, from Helensburgh, said he would also miss the caretaker when he retired.

Keeping a lid on any trouble-makers was Mr Jenkins's greatest achievement, he said.

"I think keeping a good tone in the park [is vital]. When I first came down here 12 years ago, you used to have a lot of out-of-town people coming down causing trouble," he said.

"Norm's really picked up the place in the time he's been here."

Respect for the caretaker was evident by the number of presents he received over Christmas.

"Normally, the people in the caravan park feed him up with containers of food, so they look after him," he said.

"We gave him some wine.

"A lot of the popularity of the park is due to Norm, you can see here it's a busy time of year.

"We've had a lot of jokes with Norm. We like to play tricks."

This year, Sharon Webster and her family gave Mr Jenkins a Christmas pudding.

"He's been here forever, he's a lovely man," she said.

"He's got his table of knowledge here.

"All the men sit there in the morning with a cup of tea, have a bit of a chat and discuss the ways of the world."

The table of knowledge played on Wollongong's folklore, where some of the city's movers and shakers would catch up at a kebab shop in North Wollongong.

The same group was involved in an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry in 2008.

Leaving the men to their coffees and beers, the women took to the beach with champagne, Mrs Webster said.

"It's a popular place, you have everything here, it's a patrolled beach," she said.

"The water keeps the kids entertained, they've got their skate boards, fishing rods."

The relaxed caravan park attracted families and friends alike, as John Nohra would attest.

The Granville resident was spending a few days at the park with two friends, taking a break from running after six children.

"The last time I came here I was 17 and I came with friends and girlfriends," he laughed.

"We've been swimming, fishing, eating, sleeping.

"All the good stuff."

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