H B Selby and Company Proprietary Limited

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

H B Selby and Company Proprietary Limited

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • H B Silberberg & Company, Melbourne, 1903 – 1917
  • H B Silberberg & Company, Sydney, 1912 - 1917
  • H B Selby & Company, Melbourne, 1917 – 1931
  • H B Selby & Company, Sydney, 1917 - 1937
  • H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 1931 – 1983
  • H B Selby & Company Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1937 - 1983

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

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.


Melbourne and Sydney; branches in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Port Moresby (PNG)

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

machinery and equipment manufacturing; mineral, metal and chemical wholesaling; machinery and equipment wholesaling

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

Directors: Silberberg (later Selby), Herbert Basil (Bezaleel) (1873-1937); Silberberg (later Selby), Aimee Henriette (1882-1972); Selby, Esmond John (1911 - 1998); Selby, Benn Atherton (1914 - 2011)

General context

Relationships area

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Prepared by Margaret Avard in February 2014




Dr Samuel Furphy (2005): Selbys the Science People: A History of H B Selby Australia Limited
The Business Who's Who of Australia

Maintenance notes

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