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Andrew Quilty's Everyday Australia Instagram account more than just 'beaches and bikini babes'

Photos from the Everyday Australia Instagram account
A collection of Everyday Australia photos from 2016.

Instagram: @everydayaustralia

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If you had to choose an image that represented Australia, what would it be?

A picture of a beach, kangaroos, a pair of thongs or meat pies?

Or how about a flood-stricken suburban street, cousins shooting hoops or a cattle farm?

Two years ago photojournalist Andrew Quilty set out to tell the stories of everyday Australia that weren't just about "beer, beaches and bikini babes".

The 2016 Gold Walkley Award winner was working in Kabul, Afghanistan when he decided to start an Australian arm of Everyday Projects — a network of journalists, photographers and artists who document everyday life on social media platform Instagram.

Everyday Projects started in 2012 with Everyday Africa and has since expanded to 18 countries with contributors that "change the way we see the world", according to the website.

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INSTAGRAM: Andrew Quilty Everyday Australia post

"The idea was to show a side of Australia to a wider audience that wasn't just bikini babes at Bondi, koalas and Uluru — the stereotypical tourist-friendly version of Australia," Quilty said.

Every few months Quilty invites a select number of contributors from across Australia to submit photos to the Instagram account.

Not all are professional photographers but each capture stories about what it means to live in the sunburnt country.

"Thinking from the perspective of someone outside Australia ... [the photos] show a tension within Australia, within society and the culture here — that it's not just sunshine and lollipops," Quilty said.

Here are a selection of his favourite photos from the past two years with additional comments by the contributors.

Floods in Dungog

Simone De Peak was on assignment for the Newcastle Herald covering the aftermath of the 2015 April storms that left the New South Wales town of Dungog devastated.

Homes were washed away and three people died during torrential storms.

Everyday Australia Instagram post by Simone de Peak of Dungog tennis courts
The local tennis courts at Dungog show the force of the floodwaters.

Instagram: @everydayaustralia / @simonedepeak

"I was taken with how surreal the scene appeared," she said.

"This was a synthetic tennis court that locals and visitors to the area would normally have a friendly game of tennis on, which had been upheaved by Mother Nature, the force of the floodwaters manipulating a wave-like pattern and leaving a path of destruction in its wake."

Halls Creek, Western Australia

Photographer Michael Wilson was doing a story about AFL player Sam Petrevski-Seton for the West Australian newspaper when he captured this frame.

Wilson had spent the day with the Carlton recruit who showed him around his hometown, surrounding bushland and favourite waterholes.

Michael Wilson Everyday Australia photo of Sam Petrevski-Seton
Halls Creeks has had its problems but Sam Petrevski-Seton says "you've got to be proud of where you come from".

Instagram: @everydayaustralia / @michaelwwilson

"Halls Creek has been plagued by social issues for years so it was great to be able to do a positive news story in the community," Wilson said.

"We went back to Sam's place to meet with his parents and afterwards he just started playing around with his baby cousin next door.

"The photograph is just a nice, candid moment that reflects the importance of the family unit in Aboriginal communities and also has that little spark of humanity that allows photos to be appreciated universally, regardless of our background."

Town in mourning

Justine Muller spends much of her time in Indigenous communities.

Her photograph was taken in Wilcannia and after finding out who the grave belonged to, she sought the family members for permission to publish the image and the story behind it.

Justine Muller Town in Mourning photo
Plastic flowers, football jerseys, personalised mugs and pottery ... bring colour to a sad reality.

Instagram: @everydayaustralia / @_justine_muller

"When a community experiences so much loss it is in a constant state of mourning, there is no time for healing," she said.

"When I wrote those words they were just statistics, but now after returning to the community and spending long periods of time there, those statistics have names, have faces, and I start to understand the deep hurt that continues to plague our first nations people."

The Anangu of Mutitjulu

Neda Vanovac is a digital producer for ABC Darwin and formerly a reporter for AAP.

She travelled to Uluru in 2015 to cover the 30th anniversary of the handback of the site from the federal government to the traditional owners, the Anangu people.

Neda Vanovac Everyday Australia photo of women at Uluru performing a monster dance
Ladies do a "monster" dance at Uluru to mark 30 years since the land was returned to the Anangu people.

Instagram: @everydayaustralia / @bookhopper

"This place is so essential to the way we imagine and mythologise the Australian outback, located as it is at the heart of the country," she said.

"And while I find Uluru and the central desert to be a profoundly beautiful, quiet, spiritual place, there is still a continuing sense of unease that things have not been made right with the people who have lived there alongside it as caretakers of this magnificent spot for millennia.

"The feelings these women generated with this dance resonated with me long beyond this moment, and for most of the long, lonely drive back to Darwin."