Sunshine, administrative centre of the Braybrook Shire until a restructuring of the local government boundaries ended with the creation of the City of Brimbank in 1994, has played a pivotal role in early Victorian industrialisation and in employer-worker relations.
It hosted one of the world’s first high-explosive factories when a German manufacturer set up shop in Braybrook in the 1870s. And shortly after the turn of the 20th century leading industrialist Hugh Victor McKay sparked a name change for Braybrook Junction when he moved the Sunshine Harvester Works from Ballarat to what we now know as Sunshine.
To attract labour, McKay launched a radical program to provide worker housing and subsidised electricity and roads. His paternalism didn’t extend to pay and in 1907, Justice Higgins’ Harvester Judgement set the benchmark for a basic family wage.
Brimbank is richly endowed with reserves, including the 121ha Organ Pipes National Park which takes its name from the distinctive, basalt columns in a gorge cut into the Keilor Plains. The pipes are set beneath a basalt shelf, a legacy of one of the world's largest lava flows. The park is a perfect spot for a picnic in the company of resident waterfowl, blue wrens, cockatoos, rosellas and wedge-tailed eagles.