Shelbourne is a rural locality south-west of Bendigo on the road to Dunolly and about 17 km north of Maldon. Although situated between these notable gold-mining places, Shelbourne has had little or no mining. Originally heavily forested, it has been cleared for cereals and grazing.

Schools were opened at Shelbourne (1868), Shelbourne East (1871) and Shelbourne South (1880). A Methodist church (1870) was replaced with a brick building in 1880 and was in use until the 1950s. A railway line ran from Maldon to Shelbourne from 1891 until the late 1960s. In 1903 Shelbourne was described in the Australian handbook:

Shelbourne South school closed in 1902 and the last of them, Shelbourne East, closed in 1970. After about 1948 railway passenger services ended and the line was limited to a weekly goods service. Grain silos mark the site of the former station yard.

Shelbourne’s census populations have been:

area census date population
Shelbourne 1881 90
  1911 345
  1921 175
  1947 102
  1954 60
  1961 57
Shelbourne and environs 2011 395