Craigieburn, an outer residential suburb, was on the Hume Highway 25 km north of central Melbourne until it was bypassed in 2004. The Merri Creek is the eastern boundary of Craigieburn, and it is fed by the Aitken and the Malcolm Creeks from the west.

The name is derived from the Gaelic word Craigie, meaning craggy.

In 1865 Craigieburn was a hamlet with a few small farmers. Its land was considered to be unsuitable for agriculture. In 1872 the railway from Melbourne to Seymour was opened, crossing the Hume Highway at Craigieburn. Six years later a station or stopping place was provided at Craigieburn. The hamlet, however, remained of minor importance, although having a post office (1866) and a recreation hall by 1912. There were tennis and football clubs, and the Merri Creek was noted for fishing and scenery.

During the postwar years Craigieburn was a railway level crossing on the Hume Highway, with an unexpected brick building facade erected in the 1920s, intended for a harvester factory but never finished. The crossing was replaced by an overpass in 1961. A primary school was opened in 1955, taking over from the Somerton school.

In 1972 the Hothlyn Corporation promoted a residential subdivision sufficient to house 20,000 people, and at about that time a population increase began. The Reserve Bank's Note Printing Branch opened in Craigieburn in 1981, employing about 500 people. The township then also had a Catholic school, kindergarten, community health centre, several reserves and a public golf course.

Between 1981 and 1991 Craigieburn's population more than doubled to over 10,000 persons. It had three State primary schools, a secondary college (1984) and a Catholic primary school. The Plaza Shopping Centre (1975) has a supermarket and 33 shops. It is located on the east side of Craigieburn, near the railway station. A new town centre, situated on the west side, was constructed in 2012. Nearby is Wilmott State primary school (1995).

A short way west of the town centre there is the Hume global learning centre (library, etc) which opened in 2012.

North of the town centre, Craigieburn rises to Mount Ridley (elevation 289 metres) which has a clear view over Craigieburn to the Melbourne city skyline. This part of Craigieburn has the Mount Ridley State P-12 college (2009), a Catholic primary school and the Highlands shopping centre (2011). There is a large linear park along Malcolm Creek, a tributary of the Merri Creek.

Craigieburn has a public golf course, linear reserves along the Aitken and Malcolm Creeks and several smaller neighbourhood reserves. New infrastructure included a train maintenance facility (2012) and a state of the art training centre for Victoria's emergency services (2014).

Craigieburn's census populations have been:

census date population
1911 112
1947 137
1966 372
1971 1342
1976 2491
1981 4296
1991 10,098
2001 14,972
2006 20,785
2011 32,757

The median age of residents at the 2011 census was 30 years (Australia, 37 years).