Our Story

Annesley House is on the lands of the Gunditjmara, Jardwadjali and Bunganditj, and peoples for over 40,000 years with European settlement occurring in 1834.

Annesley was erected in 1878 as a residence and surgery for Dr. Brewer.

Designed by architect Daniel Nicholson, this impressive two-story brick structure features a rendered facade with a centrally located entrance highlighted by a two-story projection. The projection includes a Doric porch on the ground floor and a pedimented bay on the first floor, making for a striking entrance.

This house is a noteworthy example of Italianate-style architecture for a substantial nineteenth-century town house design.

Indigenous History

The beliefs and stories of the Gunditjmara people are passed on through the work of Budj Bim.

The stories tell of creation of our landscape through to the dramatic changes that European settlement brought. Below is a small portion of the fascinating regional history through the eyes of Gunditjmara. Budj Bim offers tours allowing first hand experience of some of the areas touched on below.

Four Creator Beings were sent by the Great Creator to form the Gunditjmara landscape. They first arrived at a secret location to the south west of present day Lake Condah. The Creator Beings were the first of the lawman with special spiritual, ceremonial powers and responsibilities. Three of the Creator Beings went to other parts of the land, moving north, south and east.

The fourth, Budj Bim stayed in the area and created the landscape features that we see today, the peaks of Tappoc (Mt. Napier), Kolorer (Mt. Rouse), and Budj Bim.

Budj Bim gave the Gunditjmara the volcano (Mt. Eccles), causing it to erupt and changing the landscape to what we have today.

The waterways, wetlands, flora and fauna gave the Gunditjmara the rich resources to live a semi-sedentary lifestyle.

Budj Bim provided well for the Gunditjmara, so well in fact that people can now survive and live a full life on country.

Budj Bim is the resting in our landscape. Mt Eccles is part of his forehead, the scoria remnants of his teeth and the lave flow is his blood.

It is said that Budj Bim left the guardians behind to ensure that the people are caring for the country. These guardians are the Gneering, (weeping she oaks). If you listen when the wind blows you can hear the guardians whispering to you.

To learn more about BudjBim and to make your tour booking click on the link https://www.budjbim.com.au/ 


Portland is Victoria’s first permanent European settlement, the state’s birthplace.

The first Europeans to sight this region were Lieutenant James Grant and the crew of the Lady Nelson, sailing from west to east in 1800. Grant sighted and named Portland Bay on 7 December 1800.

The early maritime explorers did not set foot ashore. The first Europeans to do so were sealers from Tasmania who landed in Portland Bay in the 1820’s and stayed for extended periods. Sealers were followed by whalers, who established whaling stations around Portland Bay in the early 1830’s.

Permanent, successful European settlement was established at Portland Bay in November 1834 by the Henty Brothers, until this point, the European presence had been seasonal. the Henty aimed to develop extensive inland sheep stations.

Renowned explorer Major Mitchell made his way to Portland in 1836, informing the Henty’s of the excellent lands inland. This led to a wave of settlers pressing inland via Portland, Melbourne and Geelong to establish sheep runs in ” Australia Felix”.

Whaling, however underpinned the prosperity of the settlement in the pioneering  1830’s and 1840’s. The settlement developed into a major regional port and staging point for the transportation of goods inland and wool overseas. By 1850, Portland had a population of 1200.

The Gold rushes of the 1850’s generated prosperity for Portland with the arrival of many immigrant vessels from Britain. 

by 1860, Portland had a population of 3000 and a robust and diverse economy. The settlement became a borough in 1863. Coastal steamers contributed much to the settlement’s development, as did the completion of the railway link with Melbourne in 1878. By Federation in 1901, Portland’s port served the needs of an extensive hinterland.

When Victoria commemorated its centenary in 1934 Portland led of the state’s celebrations. Portland became a town in 1949 and the redeveloped port was opened in 1960. In 1984 Portland celebrated the 150th anniversary of its establishment and became a city in 1985.

An international port and prosperous city, Portland is rich in history and enjoys links with significant personalities including the pioneering Henty brothers and William Dutton, explorer Major Mitchell, Artic explorer Sir John Franklin, mariner and harbour master James Fawthrop, reformer Vida Goldstein, acclaimed World War 11 photographer Damien Parer and Mary MacKillop.

To learn more about the history of Portland click on the link https://www.visitportland.com.au/ 

Past and present owners of Annesley House

Original owner, Dr Brewer

Annesley was built in 1878 as the residence and surgery of Dr Brewer. Below is an extract from the “Portland Guardian” Sept 27, 1879.

“TOWN IMPROVEMENTS…we cannot omit noticing [the accommodation] of Dr Brewer. It is one of the finest that a private gentleman in a country district need desire”.

Dr Brewer was both Medical Officer in charge of the local hospital and Portland Mayor. He was born in an era when wealth was used to impress, and Annesley House was constructed for this purpose. We are sure our three-bedroom apartment that bears his name would suitably impress Dr Brewer.

Current owners, Peter and Nicole Carr

Your hosts, and the sixth owners, Peter and Nicole Carr welcome you to Portland, and Annesley House! 

Both raised locally, Peter and Nicole are passionate about their community and thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase some of the wonderful assets the area has to offer.

Peter is a builder, both commercial and domestic, and will slowly be providing property upgrades over the coming year.

Nicole is the Executive Officer of a local Not-for-Profit organisation called United Way Glenelg. Nicole is passionate about early literacy having delivered close to 45,000 books to children in the Glenelg Shire. A sneak peek into the manager’s office and you will find a plethora of children’s books.

Our aim is to provide you with a very comfortable stay, appreciate your privacy and quiet time so will not disturb you during your stay, however available for any questions you have!