Deposit 64 - H B Selby and Company deposit

Identity area

Reference code



H B Selby and Company deposit


  • 1889 - 1949 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

9.3 m

Context area

Name of creator

(1903 - 1983)

Administrative history

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.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records from the company's Head Office in Melbourne including correspondence, financial records, stock and price books, and other printed material.


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement

Conditions governing reproduction

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Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

NBAC N381; NBAC N220

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Description control area

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 11 August 2011




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