Boiling down is the process of rendering fat from animal carcasses to produce tallow. It was a common small-farm activity for making soap and candles for domestic use, but was industrialised in the early 19th century, particularly in Australia.
In the 1840s, the overseas market for Austalian wool suffered a severe price slump, while the local market for mutton was flooded. The boiling-down works became the saviour of the squatters when sheep were selling for as low as sixpence. Henry O'Brien of Yass developed a means of boiling down sheep in large cauldrons to extract the tallow (fat for soap and candle making). Even when the wool price recovered boiling down works helped maintain a minimum price closer to five shillings per head.
Langlands and Fulton operated an iron foundry an 131 Flinders St West, Melbourne, Australia, where Fulton developed a technique for boiling-down sheep for tallow around in 1843-44 when squatters slaughtered their otherwise worthless sheep in the thousands due to a rural depression.
In Victoria, Joseph Raleigh is credited with one of the first large scale boiling-down works, when in 1840 he erected a plant near the Stney Creek Backwasy in Yarraville. From a very small quantity of 50 tons of tallow produced in 1843, to 430 in tons in 1844, over 4500 tons, worth £130,000 were produced in 1850 in Victoria alone.
Robert King opened the first boiling down works in the Bremer River area of Ipswich, Queensland in 1847, followed by John Campbell and John Smith, creating a self-contained village of Town Marie.