Devonshire Road in central Sunshine
The township of Sunshine was earlier known as Braybrook Junction. The Braybrook Junction Post Office opened on 25 August 1890. In 1904 H. V. McKay bought the Braybrook Implement Works. In 1906 McKay moved his agricultural machinery manufacturing business from Ballarat to Braybrook Junction. This established the Sunshine Harvester Works which became the largest manufacturing plant in Australia. McKay had also secured 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land at Braybrook Junction with the aim of establishing housing to encourage his workers to settle in the area. .H. V. McKay's concept for Sunshine, the Sunshine Estate, was for a community developed according to the ideals of the Garden city movement, an influential town planning movement of the early 20th century. Infrastructure and amenities established by McKay included electric lighting, parks and sporting grounds, public buildings, schools and a library and the town became regarded as a model industry-centred community. Housing for the Sunshine Harvester Works' employees had swelled the local population and the town of Sunshine was touted as the "Birmingham of Australia". The Sunshine train disaster on 20 April 1908 killed 44 people at Sunshine station.
Sunshine is a highly multicultural suburb, with many residents coming from all over Europe in the first few decades of the post-WWII period. It is the main centre for Melbourne's Maltese community: indeed, Oceania's only branch of Malta's Bank of Valletta is situated on Watt St, Sunshine. From the late 1970s, many Vietnamese refugees settled in Sunshine and surrounding areas and have opened small businesses such as groceries and restaurants on Hampshire Road. More recently, immigrants moving to Sunshine have come from Sudan, Burma and India.
In 2011 Sunshine had a population of 8,838. The most common ancestries were Australian 14.0%, English 12.9%, Vietnamese 10.5%, Chinese 5.8% and Irish 5.3%. In Sunshine, 44.7% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were Vietnam 11.2%, India 6.7%, Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar) 2.8%, Italy 1.9% and Philippines 1.6%..
Sunshine train station is classed as a Premium Station and is in the PTV zones 1+2 overlap. Sunshine Station is situated right where the Ballarat and Bendigo regional railway lines meet. When the Regional Rail Linkis built (scheduled for completion in 2016) trains between Geelong services will also pass through Sunshine Station: this will mean Sunshine Station will be at the junction of all three western regional railway lines.
The NSW TrainLink XPT passenger service to Sydney also passes through Sunshine Station on its way towards Seymourvia the Albion–Jacana railway line. Cyclists in Sunshine are represented by BrimBUG, the Brimbank Bicycle User Group.