Shot Tower

The Shot Tower, 1873 (W.L. Crowther Library, SLT)

The Shot Tower in Taroona was built in 1870 by Joseph Moir, to make lead shot for smooth-bore muzzle-loading guns. It is the only circular stone shot tower in the southern hemisphere. Moir also built a three-storey factory next door. Lead was melted in cauldrons over wood fires at the top of the tower, arsenic and antimony were added, and, for larger size shot, the lead was poured through a colander at the top of the tower, falling 152 feet into a tub of water at the base. Small shot fell 30 feet in the factory. The shot was dried, sorted, graded, polished, weighed, packed and sold, and eighty tons were produced annually.

Until Federation, the business was protected by a tariff, but after 1901 Moir could not compete with the three other shotmakers in Australia, and the business closed in 1905. The Tower has become a tourist attraction.

Further reading: L Scripps, The industrial heritage of Hobart volume 1, Hobart, 1997; R Lord, The Shot Tower, Hobart, 1980.

Alison Alexander