Originally known as Swampy Creek the name was changed to Anglesea River in 1884 when the township was established. A Post Office under that name opened on April 16, 1886 and was renamed Anglesea in 1950. The town's golf-course is known for its resident kangaroo population. In September the town hosts the Angair Wildflower Festival. Alcoa of Australia operate a power station and open-cut coalmine in the town. There is a surge in population during the Summer months, reaching a peak around Christmas and New Year's Eve, as many Melbourne residents arrive for the holiday season. Although the town's main beach has surfing conditions, many surfers opt for Government Beach (known as "Guvvo's"), just west of town. Anglesea is also famous locally for its annual riverbank markets, which take place by the river on Anglesea's main street, the Great Ocean Road.
In February 1983, the Ash Wednesday fires swept through the area, destroying many houses.
The picture seen to the right was taken from the Anglesea "Look Out" which resides off Harvey Street. Coastal Points of Interest visible in this picture are Main Beach, which is home to the Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club, and Point Addis, seen in the background.