Was someone shot here? Was gunshot made here? What is the story of Taroona’s Shot Tower?
The website http://taroona.tas.au/shot-tower provides the full and correct name of what I visited on Stage 12 of my walk: Joseph Moir’s Shot Tower.
Another website http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=2820, explains “Joseph Moir’s factory, which operated for 35 years from 1870, manufactured lead shot for contemporary muzzle loading sports guns.” This second website offers background information about Moir: a Scot, he arrived in Van Diemens Land as a free settler in 1829. Details and photographs of some buildings, the choice of the site, the manufacturing process and Moir’s burial are all covered on this website for those who are interested to know more.
The man seems to have been both industrious and enterprising. Wikipedia claims he “issued tokens in his own name during a currency shortage in the colony”. The Museum of Victoria (http://museumvictoria.com.au/collections/themes/2164/joseph-moir-ironmonger-1809-1874) confirms this story and offers more detail.
In relation to shot towers generally, the first one in history was created in 1783 in England, not many years before Moir was born and emigrated half way around the world. The early process involved molten metal being dropped from a great height in order to turn it into spherical shapes, and letting it land in a pool of water which cooled the metal. Late in the 19th century, a wind method (short fall and blast of cool air) replaced the long drop and water method.