3 Mar 2022

Old Grammarian story: Annelise Tiller (Porter, 1995)

A love of maths and music leads to international architecture projects for this Old Grammarian

When Annelise Tiller (nee Porter) was awarded a music scholarship to attend Ballarat Grammar in 1991, it was an opportunity that would change her outlook on life. In a letter to the School in 1996, Annelise reflected on her time at Ballarat Grammar as being accepted into a united family, not just a school.

After completing her VCE, Annelise commenced a double degree in science and geomatics at the University of Melbourne. However, after starting the course she decided to embrace her creative talents and transferred to a Bachelor of Interior Design at RMIT and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Architecture.

Over the last 13 years, Annelise has delivered projects across Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and India spanning a diversity of scale including office fit-outs, royal palaces, education, hospitality, residential, towers, automotive, airport infrastructure, and master planning. Annelise currently leads GHD Woodhead Victorian Education team to roll out schools across the state and is a sessional lecturer in Interior Design at RMIT.

photo of woman with long hair wearing black dress

Tell us about your time at Grammar.
During my four years at Grammar, I was given the opportunity to develop my skills in music, maths, and leadership. I was very involved in music and performing arts (Music Captain and Macpherson House Captain) – playing the pipe organ, a member of the jazz band, orchestra, and concert band, as well as participating in the school play and Rock Eisteddfod.

What ignited your passion for your career choice? Can you describe your journey?
My competency in music and mathematics helped to mould my career after completing school. I started a double degree in Science and Geomatics at the University of Melbourne while on a resident scholarship at Trinity College.

I realised that my creative talent was not being applied in my course, so transferred to RMIT to undertake a Bachelor of Interior Design and, subsequently a Bachelor of Architecture. I obtained my architectural registration and launched on a 13-year adventure working and living in the Middle East. I returned to Melbourne in late 2019.

Can you share some key defining moments in your career/life?
Working up the courage to launch a career abroad was a big moment for me. As an ex-pat, I learned how to manage challenges that were unfamiliar both professionally and personally.


How did Ballarat Grammar prepare you for your career? Did Ballarat Grammar or the wider community assist you in your studies or advancing your career?
Ballarat Grammar offered me access to a premium education with the privilege of a music scholarship which encouraged me to represent and lead Grammar musical performances. These skills allowed me to integrate with students across levels supporting my leadership as Macpherson House Captain in my final year.

As a musician, I accessed leadership opportunities while engaged in the self-discipline of building technical skills and performing under pressure – these skills I continue to use today.

What are your future career goals/aspirations?
My future career goal is to provide architecture that is inclusive, relevant, and has sustainable aspiration beyond regulation.

As Director of Architecture & Interior Design, with GHD Woodhead, I lead the education team to deliver projects that offer flexibility that respond to a diversity of learners. As an extension to my role, I foster industry and academic collaboration including an industry-partnered Masters Design Studio with RMIT, sessional tutoring in Professional Practice, and multidisciplinary round table events with the University of Melbourne.

What advice would you give to current students or recent leavers?
Be your authentic self. You are in charge of your own personal and professional journey. Allow yourself to venture into the ‘discomfort’. You never know what you will achieve or discover. Seek a mentor and never stop learning. Don’t just think local, go global!


We would like to thank Annelise for sharing her fascinating career path and memories of Ballarat Grammar with us.

To share your story or if you know an Old Grammarian who has an interesting career or achievement please email [email protected]