Show Notes

‘Again, my ego was pretty up there, and I was pretty full of myself with all of these wonderful things I was doing for people. Anyway, this guy called George comes up to me and he used to drink at the pub, and he said how good I was, and then he said, ‘I’ve got good news, my daughter’s met someone at Endeavour and they’re going to get married.’ And I was thinking to myself, why is he telling me this? And he had tears in his eyes, and I said, ‘What’s the matter George?’ And he said, ‘His parents had quite a bit of money and they’ll set them up in a Unit, and now I can die without having to worry about my daughter.’ And he said, ‘As you know people with kids with disabilities, that’s the thing they’re scared of… dying wondering who’s going to look after them?’ And it was that moment that I changed the way I think about what I was doing. And it was more that I had the opportunity to help people because of where I was not to beat my own chest about how good I was. And it went on from there, that conversation was a catalyst for a lot of change in me, in regards to the way I thought about things and the reason why I want to do things.’ And the reason why I want to do things now, is to help people.’ ~ Ashley Robinson

This is a big conversation about the tapestry of one man’s life, the highs and lows, the wins and losses, the challenges and struggles. Mental wellness is a huge topic for us all and Ashley Robinson has been confronted with many moments that have challenged his beliefs on what that means to the core. This deep, open and very real conversation is about how to use challenges to raise awareness of looking out for your own welfare and then investing your energy in helping others.

ASHLEY Robinson, the Sunshine Coast businessman and sports leader who has spent much of his life contributing to the community, who recently campaigned to the next mayor of the Sunshine Coast. Ashley has four decades of business experience across the hospitality and community enterprise sectors and an impressive record of community service that saw him awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2016.

He has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds for community groups and those less fortunate, while also spending five years as chair of the Community Gaming Benefit Fund which distributes $15 million a quarter to community organisations across Queensland.

The Wurtulla father of two sons was born on a Eudlo pineapple farm and has built a powerful understanding of the region through his ongoing involvement in sport, community service, advocacy for men’s health and quiet generosity to those in need. Ashley is affectionately and widely known as ‘Tugboat’ in recognition of the dependable, steady strength he brought to his rugby league playing days and then to his roles as a business manager and community service.

Born in Nambour Hospital on December 10, 1957, Ashley is one of a rare group who can claim to be a born-and-bred Sunshine Coast local. His dad Len was a pineapple farmer who, with his wife Edna, raised two boys – Ashley and his older brother Lindsay. Ashley says growing up on the farm at Eudlo was full of happy memories.

Ashley played Australian rules as a youngster, before taking up rugby league in high school. He became captain of the Nambour High team before playing for Souths and All Whites. After a season in Perth, during which he made the Western Australia team, he returned to the Coast and played with Souths again, before beginning a 10-year stint with Maroochydore, interspersed with a season in Longreach in 1981. He was in his mid-20s when he met his wife Sheila during a night out at Mooloolaba Surf Club in 1983. He realised he had found “the perfect woman” when she offered cold beer and fresh seafood for dinner after their first date.

She already had two boys – Brendan and Lucas – who Ashley quickly accepted as his own. It was, he says, the turning point in his life.

“Sheila’s made an enormous difference to my life,” he said. “She’s a very strong woman, though she pretends not to be,” he said. “We’ve been married 40 years and I’ve been blessed to have her.”

Together they are also strong advocates for animal welfare, an involvement that saw him made a Life Member of Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge Society.

Ashley is an inductee to the Sunshine Coast University Sports Hall of Fame, the Sunshine Coast Rugby League Hall of Fame and is a life member of the Sunshine Coast Rugby League.

In 2016, Ashley’s community work was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) – something that doesn’t sit comfortably with him.

“I get a bit embarrassed about that sort of thing because it’s the network of people you’ve got around you that allows you to do stuff to help people. The people who are helping you are the ones who should be getting the credit.”

His definition of Self Love is: I don’t really know but if I add all things up… I used to go to sleep wishing I was a famous footy player, then I used to dream of winning $40million wishing I was rich. Now I go to sleep wishing I could win $40million so I could give half of it away. My self-love is dead-set focused on helping other people, because it helps me.

His favourite quote is:
It’s nice to be important, but it’s far more important to be nice.

Links to follow:
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I am a born and bred Sunshine Coaster!
I had a lot of friends but am a bit of a loner in many ways.
I wasn’t very bright but was highly competitive.
I have been married for 40 years very shortly!
Do something good and let’s raise money for cerebal palsey!
You can turn a news story into an editorial!
Conversations are a wonderful catalyst for change.
You get more out than you put in.
I have had mental health problems and felt like a real loser.
His death really took its toll on me.
It’s family friends and your health that really matters.
I’m an advocate for men’s mental health.
If I broke my leg and ran a marathon with a broken leg people would be applauding me.
Mental health is a marathon, but no one can see it, and no one is applauding.
I think we are too tied up in material possessions.
We are way too tied up in what success is.
Success is being a good human.
Success shouldn’t be measured by how important you think you are.
There’s too many people thinking they are too cool for school.
Don’t worry about other people judging you.
I found meditation has been the greatest thing for me and mental health.
Exercise and meditation certainly brings things into perspective.
I was lost and then I was found.
What is good and bad, it’s not all beer and roses!
If you’re feeling shit-house go and help someone else and I guarantee you’ll feel better.
I’ve never felt better or so free.
I’m pretty open to share and will tell you how I’m feeling.
It’s good for mental health to talk about your life and your experiences and how you feel.
It’s nice to be important, but it’s far more important to be nice.
Life isn’t always easy.
Keep taking that step forward and good things will happen.


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