In 1897 a talented and astute Melbourne University student imported a small shipment of scientific glassware from Germany to sell to his fellow students. From these modest beginnings, ‘Selbys’ grew to become a respected public company – H.B. Selby Australia Limited – with offices in every Australian state capital, and in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. During this time the technology within scientific laboratories was transformed and Salbys slowly but surely established itself as the leading Australian supplier of scientific instruments, laboratory apparatus, chemicals and process control equipment. It developed a reputation for honesty and integrity that was recognised both in Australia and overseas.
This history traces the growth of a family business and the challenges of surviving as a small-to-medium public company in a corporate world increasingly dominated by big business. In 1982 Selbys fell prey to larger companies in a bizarre triple takeover.
Samuel Furphy graduated with a Master of Arts from the University of Melbourne in 2001. Since then, his research and teaching experience has included Australian history, colonialism and 20th-century world history. He is currently completing a PhD in 19th-century Australian history. This is his first book.