Anthony Whitaker has no links to Taree or the Manning Valley, but somehow the former Australian army recruit's photo has featured prominently on the walls of the Taree RSL Sub-branch office for more than a decade.
Last month, sub-branch members Darcy Elbourne and John Connell were sorting through assets and memorabilia and uncovered the photo of the then unidentified army recruit.
The duo posted on local Facebook groups and their personal accounts to track down the owner. Eventually, Anthony was alerted to the search and contacted John.
"I got messages from friends about John's post," Anthony said. "Then I was able to get in touch."
Anthony travelled to Taree with his family on Friday, September 11 to collect the photo.
He speculated the photo was lost when his grandmother, who suffered dementia, moved house.
"But I still have no idea how it got to Taree," Anthony quickly added.
Anthony joined the army as a recruit in 2008, was in the reserves for two years and fulltime for six years.
He didn't realise the framed photo existed as he chose not to purchase a copy when he marched out.
"I just wanted to get out of Kapooka and start work," he laughed.
He left the army in 2016 and has since worked in taxation with the NSW government and the Australian Taxation Office.
Now that he has the photo, Anthony is pleased he can show his two-year-old son that he served in the armed forces.
It was the first time Anthony dropped in to Taree, making the mystery surrounding the photo more surreal.
"I have driven past but I've never come in," Anthony said.
Before they returned to Sydney, the Whitakers enjoyed a coffee and a chat with Darcy and John.
Darcy said the photo is just one of many interesting items uncovered in the clean-up.
Letters from King George were recently discovered, with one addressed to former Cundletown postmaster Jack Carey.
"We don't know what we'll uncover next," Darcy said.
"Since we've started, this (Anthony's photo) has been the best."
Thank you for valuing local journalism with your subscription. While you're with us, you can also receive updates straight to your inbox from the Manning River Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.