In its early days of European settlement, Boronia was predominantly an orchard, flower growing and farming area.
Boronia was named in 1915 by local councillor A. E. Chandler (prior to this, Boronia was considered part of Bayswater). Chandler named the suburb Boronia after the plant, boronia, which grew on his property at The Basin. The plant was discovered by Ferdinand von Mueller, an Austrian botanist who came to Australia during the colonial period.
Boronia railway station opened in 1920, leading to an influx of residents. A further influx occurred in the 1960s and 1970s.
Boronia's most impressive historical building is Miller Homestead. Originally built in 1888 for John Miller, who was originally from Bayswater, London, and the first president of the Shire of Ferntree Gully (from which City of Knox separated in 1963) and Justice of the Peace. The original property included stables and horse training facilities and was over 77 acres in size. The property was sub-divided in 1971. Miller homestead is classified by the National Trust of Australia (Vic).
Boronia is a tree-lined suburb with views of the National Park and the city of Melbourne (from the foothills themselves). There are also nature reserves and extensive bike paths/lanes. Boronia includes sections of the Dandenong Ranges foothills and thus possesses many hills itself. It has the beautiful, natural, green backdrop of the hills and Dandenong Ranges National Park. Knox City Council have endeavoured to protect this green backdrop to Melbourne by developing pro-environment planning guidelines.
For years, Boronia had been split in two by a railway line and a bottleneck railway crossing across the two main thoroughfares- Boronia and Dorset Roads. In the mid 1990's, Vicroads proposed the reconstruction the Boronia and Dorset Roads intersection with the railway line being located underground and a new railway station built in a concrete cutting- ending the separation of the two halves of the suburb and uniting Boronia. The new tunnel and intersection opened in 1998 with the land which the railway used to occupy (housing the Country Fire Authority, railway station and large playground/park) being converted into a new shopping centre and carpark.
There are numerous community and service groups in Boronia;- including Lions Club, Rotary Club, Returned and Services League (RSL), YWCA Women's Group, Probus Clubs, Country Women's Association, VIEW Club, Scouts and various church youth groups, such as Jigsaw, formally know as HYP, run by local Youth Leaders. The Boronia Progress Hall is a historic building of local importance.
Boronia Junction, a relatively new shopping centre, was completed over 2000-2001. Boronia Junction includes AMF bowling, a number of restaurants and a hairdresser. There has been a cinema in Boronia for many decades (although not continuously). Metro cinemas opened in 2005 (in the former Village cinemas complex in Dorset Square). Boronia boasts over 11 restaurants- including Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and Italian cuisine. The other two shopping precincts in Boronia are Boronia Village and Dorset Square (including Boronia Mall). There is also Dorset Arcade and Chandler Arcade, both run by the Boronia Chamber of Commerce. Boronia is currently being targeted by Knox City Council for rejuvenation in consultation with resident interest groups- major works are intended for the Dorset Square retail and entertainment precinct during 2008.
There are a number of kindergartens located in Boronia (interested parties are advised to contact Knox City Council for more details). There are also four primary schools in Boronia: Boronia Primary, Boronia Heights Primary, Boronia West Primary and St Joseph's Catholic Primary school. There is one secondary school: Boronia Heights College.
The offices of Knox Leader weekly local newspaper (part of the News Corporation group) are located in Boronia. The Boronia and The Basin Community Newspaper (BBCN) is also produced and distributed locally- by volunteers and focuses on local stories and history: including feature articles on immigrants' stories and local businesses. The community newspaper is produced on a monthly basis.
There are a number of groups providing for the local community. These include St Paul's Anglican Church, Boronia Uniting Church, Boronia Church of Christ, The Potter's Church, Vineyard Church, Wesleyan Methodist Church of Boronia (pictured), Jehovah's Witnesses of Bayswater and Boronia, Christedelphian Hall of Boronia, Boronia Baptist Church, Martin Luther Home for the Aged, Tenrikyo Melbourne Shinyu Church (only Japanese church of its kind in Australia) and St Joseph's Catholic Church.
Wadi Street, Boronia is also the location of the first Templer Community Church Hall in Australia. Built in 1957 entirely by local volunteer Templers the building, with its unusual belltower and the attached nine-pin bowling alley, has been assessed by the Heritage Council in 2003 as 'culturally significant' and placed on the Register of Heritage Victoria.
Many of the streets in Boronia follow a botanical theme - such as Sycamore Crescent, Cypress Avenue, Daffodil Road, Iris Crescent, Pine Crescent, Tulip Crescent, Hazelwood Road, Olive Grove and Oak Avenue. Others are named after important local residents - Chandler Road, Rathmullen Road, Dinsdale Road, Kleinert Road.