AU NBAC N220
H B Selby Australia Limited deposit 2
- 1904 - 2000 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
(1949 - 1983)
H B Selby Australia Limited was registered in Melbourne on 11 April 1949 as a public company and holding company for the Sydney and Melbourne businesses of H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, importers and suppliers of scientific instruments, laboratory apparatus, chemicals and industrial and process control equipment. During 1982-83, when Selbys succumbed to a triple takeover by Warburton O’Donnell, Comeng Holdings Ltd, then Australian National Industries (ANI), its operating subsidiaries were Selbys Scientific Ltd and Analite Pty Ltd. The Selby name continued through further changes of ownership until 2002, when, as part of the Biolab Group, it was finally dropped.
Name of creator
(1903 - 1983)
The firm, which specialised in the manufacture, import and supply of scientific instruments, laboratory apparatus, chemicals and industrial and process control equipment, was founded in Melbourne around 1889 by Carl de Beer and traded under the name of his brother Ernest de Beer and Company. Herbert B Silberberg joined the de Beer partnership in 1903 and, later in the same year, bought the de Beers’ shares in the business. Silberberg carried on as de Beer, Silberberg & Company for four months, after which he changed the name to H B Silberberg & Company. In 1912, with the company operating successfully in Melbourne, H B Silberberg and his family established a new business of the same name in Sydney. During the Great War, 1914-18, the German-sounding name ‘Silberberg’ became a liability. The family changed its name to Selby and by 1917 both Sydney and Melbourne businesses were trading as H B Selby & Company. Esmond Selby joined the Sydney business in 1929 and later became its Managing Director. Benn Selby joined the Melbourne business in 1936 and became its Managing Director. Although brought under the ownership of a holding company (H B Selby Australia Limited) in 1949, H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, Melbourne and Sydney, continued to operate as distinct entities until July 1974 when they became subsidiaries of a new holding company, Selbys Scientific Limited. In 1982-83 H B Selby Australia Ltd (and subsidiaries Selbys Scientific Ltd and Analite Pty Ltd) succumbed to a triple takeover, firstly by Warburton O’Donnell, then by Comeng Holdings Ltd and, lastly, by Australian National Industries (ANI). The Selby name continued through further changes of ownership until 2002, when, as part of the Biolab Group, it was finally dropped.
Name of creator
(1974 - 1983)
Selbys Scientific Limited was incorporated on 1 July 1974 to take over the trading activities of H B Selby and Company Pty Ltd, Melbourne and H B Selby and Company Pty Ltd, Sydney which, although subsidiaries of H B Selby Australia Ltd had been allowed to operate as distinct entities. In 1983 the Board of Selbys Scientific was disbanded and Selbys became a division of the Australian National Industries (ANI) Corporation in 1983.
Name of creator
(1946 - 1984)
Analite Pty Ltd, a laboratory equipment manufacturing business established in 1946 by Esmond Selby, Managing Director of the Sydney office of H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, became a subsidiary of H B Selby Australia Limited in May 1951. Among Analite’s the more notable achievements was the development of sets of one-piece non-magnetic stainless steel analytical masses, accurate enough to be certified by the National Standards Laboratory. In 1982-83 H B Selby Australia Ltd succumbed to a triple takeover, firstly by Warburton O’Donnell, then by Comeng Holdings Ltd and, lastly, by Australian National Industries (ANI). Analite continued as a subsidiary of Australian National Industries until September 1984 when, due to declining profits and competition from overseas markets, it was wound up altogether.
Name of creator
(1962 - 1980)
The success of H B Selby Australia Limited in the 1950s encouraged the Directors to consider opening a business in New Zealand. In March 1962 Selbys purchased an existing New Zealand scientific apparatus, testing equipment and chemicals manufacturing company - George W Wilton & Company Limited - with offices in Wellington and Auckland. In the 1970s other small branches were opened in Christchurch and Dunedin. The Wilton name was retained for the business until 1976 when George W Wilton & Company Limited was changed to Selby-Wilton Scientific Limited. Smith Biolab Limited acquired Selby-Wilton Scientific Limited in 1980.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Minutes of Directors’ Meetings – H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, 1932-1981, Selby-Wilton Scientific Ltd, 1962-1981, Analite Pty Ltd, 1947-1981, H B Selby Australia Ltd, 1948-1982; Memoranda and Articles of Association – H B Silberberg & Company Pty Ltd, H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, H B Selby Australia Ltd, Proprietary Drug Trades Association of Australia, Analite Pty Ltd; scrip book - HB Silberberg & Company, 1912; share registers – H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd and H B Selby Australia Ltd, 1932-1982; financial records – H B Silberberg & Company, H B Selby & Company, H B Selby Australia Ltd, 1911-1982; managers conferences and marketing committee meetings, 1953-1981; reports on executive overseas trips and visits to other Selby’s offices, 1949-1982; correspondence between company offices and with overseas instrument manufacturers and chemicals suppliers, 1942-1982; stock books, price books and ordering procedures, 1911-1969, marketing and sales, 1950-1982; construction of offices and warehouses (includes drawings and plans), 1915-1978; staffing matters, functions and events, 1937-2000; company development and re-organisation, 1948-1982; annual reports, 1949-1982; Warburton O’Donnell Ltd, 1975-1983; scrap books, photographs and memorabilia, 1904-2000; printed material and staff publications.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Researchers must sign an access agreement
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Subject access points
Place access points
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Dates of creation revision deletion
Arranged and described by Margaret Avard, 2013