McKinnon is a residential suburb 13 km south-east of Melbourne between Ormond and Bentleigh. It was named in 1897 by the shortening of the name of the McKinnon's Road railway station (1884). The road was reputedly named after a settler.

McKinnon and its neighbour, Ormond, were noted for their vineyards in the early stages of agricultural development. Farming in McKinnon was maintained until the 1920s, and the census population in 1921 was a small 75. By the 1933 census the figure was 1270, mostly accounted for by residential growth. In the mid-1920s McKinnon was part of Bentleigh and part of North Brighton. The Sands and McDougall directory of 1927, however, recorded a soldiers’ hall, a State Savings Bank, a dozen shops and, significantly, two estate agents in McKinnon. Within a few more years a progress association was formed and a public hall built.

McKinnon's most significant residential growth occurred in the years after World War II. An active strip shopping centre grew along McKinnon Road, either side of the railway line. The area was served by the Ormond and Ormond East primary schools (1891, 1930), and a high school was opened in 1954, meeting a long-felt need. Ormond East school was renamed McKinnon. By the 1980s McKinnon was characterised as a developed residential area with three large reserves, tennis courts and a Council library in the shopping centre. In the west of the McKinnon area there is the Bentleigh Club, housed in an historic residence ‘Killearnan’, established in 1948 as the businessmen's escape from the local hotel's six o'clock swill.

In 2014 McKinnon primary school had 772 pupils and McKinnon secondary college had 1852 pupils.

McKinnon’s census populations have been:

Census date Population
1921 75
1933 1270
2001 4748
2006 5180
2011 5553

At the 2011 census affiliation with Judaism was recorded by 10.6% of residents and with Eastern Orthodox religions 6.6% of residents (Victoria, 0.8% and 4.3% respectively).