Sunshine’s industrial past

Industrial History

Wander around Sunshine and you’ll discover interesting places such as the site of the Sunshine Harvester Works, which relocated there in 1906. The works were the largest industrial enterprise in Australia in the 1920s, and Sunshine was soon described as being the ‘Birmingham of Australia’.

Sunshine has an important place in Australian industrial relations history. In 1907 an industrial dispute between H.V. McKay and his workers at the Sunshine Harvester Works led to the Harvester Judgement, the benchmark industrial decision which resulted in the creation of a minimum living wage for Australian workers.

Other historical places of interest around Sunshine include the first post office, the replica McKay Smithy, Sunshine’s first library and more!


H.V. McKay Memorial Gardens
Anderson Road, Sunshine

These 100-year-old gardens in central Sunshine are of great historical significance as the earliest example of an industrial garden in Victoria. They’re also the only heritage-listed garden in Brimbank.

Originally it was a private garden created for the H.V. McKay factory workers who lived in the surrounding areas and enjoyed it in their leisure time with their families and friends.

The gardens have played a significant role in social history, particularly relating to the manufacturing industry in Brimbank and in Australia. Today the lovingly maintained gardens remain as a key remnant of the early years of Sunshine.

The redevelopment of the ‘South Walk’ area and ‘straight six’ pathways, inclusion of interpretation signage, upgrading of lighting, and the restoration of the entry pillars and gates, ensure these beautiful gardens are the perfect place to take a stroll, learn about the history of Sunshine or relax on green lawns under the shade of its majestic trees.

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