The first European to travel through the area was the surveyor Thomas Lewis who explored the district in 1830. The first settlers moved in the mid-1830s. These included Andrew and Janet Anderson (they arrived in 1833), who gave their name to Anderson Bay, and Peter Brewer (arrived 1835) who built the impressive 'Bowood'.
To the west of Bridport, surrounded by extensive sand dunes, is the near-ghost village of Waterhouse which had a brief moment of glory when gold was discovered there in 1869. At the time it boasted four hotels, a gold commissioner and police station. Off the coast is Waterhouse Island, complete with a lighthouse, which was named by Bass and Flinders in 1798. (regrettably not visited).