Leanne's first few weeks on the job at Mt Keira Scout Camp were downright creepy - at least after the sun went down.
She had taken on the role of live-in warden two years ago and remembers the daily task of shutting the heavy wrought iron memorial arches near Mount Keira Road and then hightailing it back up the long, dark driveway to her camp cottage as quite an unnerving experience.
It was dark and an inability to see what was in the bush nearby allowed her mind to conjure up all sorts of imaginary menaces.
She's a lot more comfortable with the gate duty these days. It's still not her favourite task but it helps that her husband Odin, who lives with her on the mountain, stopped working afternoon shifts so he was there for gate-closing time.
And the eerie rustles, screeches and bangs that randomly puncture the silence in the bush after dark are now as normal to Leanne as the sound of a car driving past her house in Dapto.
A house she doesn't stay in all that often any more.
Most of the time, it's home to their five remarkably self-sufficient sons. Mum and dad stay at the camp on weeknights, returning to the family nest at the weekend to spend time with the boys.
I struggled badly. Isn't a mother supposed to be home with the kids? Surely they needed me? Ha! Seemingly not.
The decision to leave their kids - then aged 15 to 23 - at home alone to take on the role of camp warden wasn't one Leanne took lightly. She could only do it with the backing of her entire scouting-addicted, adventure-seeking brood.
"Our whole family is involved in scouting and their love of this camp matches my own," Leanne says. "We talked about what it would mean before I even applied. The boys told me to go for it."
Despite their encouragement, a deep sense of mum guilt gnawed away at her at the start.
"I struggled badly," Leanne says. "Isn't a mother supposed to be home with the kids? Surely they needed me? Ha! Seemingly not."
Leanne soon realised the effort she had put into raising her children in the early years was paying off for the entire family at the best possible time. With the help of a strict cleaning and cooking schedule, they have not only survived but thrived.
"Some of them now are better cooks than me. In the strangest of ways this is giving them some life skills that will help them later on," she says.
"There were some hairy moments but without me there fixing problems for them they have had to learn to sort that out themselves.
"I know it's an unusual situation and it might not have worked for most families but it works for ours ... it helps that we're only 20 minutes away, as well.
"They are great young men and Odin and I are proud of them all."
As the boys learned to fend for themselves, their mum was undergoing a steep learning curve of her own as a live-in warden.
She starts her work day with a site check, ensuring all the spaces are ready for the groups who have booked in for conferences in the lodge, school lessons around the campfire, weddings in the bush chapel and more. And this is no nine-to-five gig; she might end her day opening those big iron gates at 10pm so that a parent can collect their homesick child.
The site regularly throws up major maintenance dilemmas, from power outages to water leaks, and she's quite capable with a shovel in her hands and broken water pipe in front of her.
There's also some expert advice close to hand if she needs it.
"Luckily, I have a Men's Shed full of skilled people who help me navigate and understand the maintenance side of things," she says.
"They are here on a Wednesday and available by phone - they have always been kind to me and patiently helpful."
As well as nailing the basic requirements of the job, Leanne has expanded the role to include fundraising.
In her first year, she came up with the idea of holding a themed dinner. She settled on the wildly popular Harry Potter series.
The Hogwarts dinner became the hottest ticket in town, with news of the event even reaching Warner Bros (which promptly sought to protect its intellectual property by requesting the name be changed to Enchanted Dinners).
"I knew it was going to be popular but it really surprised me with the speed in which it took off," Leanne says.
"My first thought was that I would do a couple of nights with a few people, I would cook and it'd be great."
But when tickets sold out within hours and she had to add more and more dates to meet demand, she knew this was going to be a job for more than one woman.
Caterers were organised, a local artist created the props and volunteers helped transform The Lodge into the Great Hall, complete with floating candles and cos-players dressed up as all the key characters (including a truly terrifying Voldemort).
"I think we just found something that Wollongong didn't have but wanted, although someone did fly down from Queensland to attend one night that first year," she says.
More events followed - high teas in the rainforest, a Twisted Tea Party dinner, a masquerade ball - and there are plans afoot for a Game of Thrones-inspired night (with clothes, and without killings).
To date Leanne's fundraising events have raised about $30,000 for the scout camp, all of which will go towards an updated water purification system.
"It wasn't part of my job description but it's working out to be a huge part of what I'm doing up here," she says of the fundraising.
"It's very exciting for us to be able to find the money and not have to rely on grants and luck."
When she's not creating fantasy worlds for the public, Leanne's living a fairytale existence in her little rainforest wonderland.
There's plenty of critters to provide entertainment - particularly the "adorable" lyrebirds - and Leanne is fascinated with the history of the place.
"I have a performance review each year so providing they always go well I think I can put 20 years into this place," she says.
"I can't even begin to imagine the situations that may take place over that time but I'm sure that they will be interesting.
"The more I learn, the more I will know and I am doing my best to document issues as they arise.
"The next person who comes along will have a guide because they won't be lucky enough to have the walking knowledge of the old guard who I get to chat to on a regular basis."
The scout camp's origins
Danish-born master gardener Paul Sorensen - best known in the Illawarra for designing the gardens of Gleniffer Brae for the Hoskins family - was also commissioned by Arthur Sidney (Sid) Hoskins to design the Mount Keira Scout Camp.
Much of the camp's layout follows Sorensen's original design and his signature work can be seen in the dry stone wall terraces and retaining walls, and in the stone steps leading down from The Lodge to the main camping flat.
The scout camp was established by Sid Hoskins in 1939.
Scouts Australia manages the site and its primary functions are still a camp for scouts and a training centre for scout leaders.
The camp is located within an area historically occupied by the Wodi Wodi people, the Aboriginal custodians of the Illawarra, who spoke a variant of the Dharawal language.