Last October my wife and I came down from Brisbane to spend a month in Melbourne bunny-and-house-sitting for our daughter and son-in-law while they were away on their belated honeymoon in America. Our daughter’s home is in a new housing estate in the suburb of SUNSHINE.
Basically all I knew about Sunshine was that it was in Melbourne’s West and that over the years it probably had more than its fair share of problems and critics. But we really enjoyed our time there and what we experienced during our stay was a vibrant, multicultural community with a range of great facilities and resources and a ton of potential.
So if you’re ever in SUNSHINE, here are TEN things I recommend you do.
- 1. Make a pilgrimage to Sunshine Marketplace on Harvester Road to see the amazing and iconic Millennium Man statue and while you’re there check out the shops and take in a movie at Village Cinema Sunshine‘s surprisingly extensive 20-screen complex. Even the restrooms are impressive!
And if you’re keen to learn how about why Millennium Man was created (and who wouldn’t be?) watch this VIDEO.
- 2. Have a picnic and enjoy all the terrific modern playground equipment and wonderful facilities at Buckingham Reserve. While you’re there take a stroll along the scenic trail by Kororoit Creek.
- 3. Marvel at John Kelly‘s extraordinary Man Lifting Cow sculpture on Hampshire Road in Sunshine’s CBD and then cross the street to visit Brimbank Council’s excellent new multi-level library.
- 4. While you’re in the library ask one of the attendants to direct you to the original Sunshine Harvester which is suspended from the ceiling in the council building and after which the suburb is named.
- 5. A short distance from the library is Devonshire Road. Take a walk down it till you come to a plaque beside a beautiful and imposing set of wrought-iron gates. These are the original gates to the massive Sunshine Harvester Works that once dominated the suburb. They are probably the most significant gates in Australia’s history. That’s because the events surrounding the factory that stood behind them would eventually impact on the life of every Australian worker and their family. In a decision handed down by the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in 1907 called the Harvester Judgement, the owner of the Sunshine Harvester Company H. V. McKay was ordered to pay his employees a wage that guaranteed them a standard of living which was reasonable for “a human being in a civilised community”, regardless of his capacity to pay. This ruling would lead to the establishment of a MINIMUM WAGE for Australian workers. Sunshine should be very proud of its crucial role in Australian history.
- 6. Need some exercise? Have a hit of tennis at the Sunshine Park Tennis Club. Easy to book online and three surfaces to choose from – clay, hard court or synthetic grass. Other sporting facilities for cricket and football are also close by.
- 7. After a hit at the courts take the opportunity to go solo with the silos! These big boys are so impressive and are just screaming out for some epic artwork that would celebrate the character and the unique history of the suburb. What do you say Brimbank Council?
- 8. While you’re actually in Sunshine make sure to watch (or re-watch) the excellent SBS drama series Sunshine (winner of the 2017 AACTA Award for Best Mini Series) which is set in … wait for it … Sunshine! As well as enjoying the great story I’m sure you’ll have as much fun as we did shouting at the screen whenever you recognise a familiar landmark.
- 9. Of course you can’t visit Sunshine without indulging in the delicious food available at the wide range of multi-cultural cafes and eateries. If you’re lucky like we were, your visit might coincide with the annual Lantern Festival and you’ll be able to experience a cultural and culinary smorgasbord!
- 10. And lastly, generally take the time to explore the suburb and discover all the little and big and quirky things that make it so unique.
Well that’s it for my Sunshiny review. Of course there’s much more to the place than a brief month’s stay could uncover, but if you ask me, I think this historic and often unfairly maligned suburb has a huge, bright and exciting future. (Did I mention that it’s only 12 km from the CBD, handy to the airport and has a flash new train station?)
Anyway, I’m pretty sure that a lot more people like my daughter (below) and son-in-law will be happily ‘walkin’ on Sunshine’ in the years to come and thinking to themselves, ‘Don’t it feel good!’
Cheers (and keep up the good work Brimbank City Council!)