Taroona Shot Tower is a building in the Tasmanian town of Taroona, Australia. Built in 1870, a Shot tower was a building used to make shot balls or projectiles for firearms. The tower would be designed so that there would be a large basin of water at the bottom of the tower. Lead would be melted and carried up to the top of the tower via a stairway built circling around the tower. At the top of the tower the molten lead would be poured into a copper sieve at the top of the tower, causing the molten lead to 'rain' into the water at the bottom. At the droplets of lead hit the water they would freeze and become solid, this formed small and perfectly spherical shot balls that could be used as ammunition.
The Taroona Shot tower was the first shot tower built in Australia. At the time it was built it was the tallest building in Australia (It is 53 metres tall, and has 300 stairs leading up to the top of the tower). It was the tallest building in Tasmania until recently when it was surpassed by the 63 metre tall ABC Tower in Hobart. The factory at the foot of the tower housed the furnace and has three floors. Taroona Shot Tower was made to close in 1901, since it is one of three remaining shot towers in Australia, it has been declared a protected site and the factory is now a museum.
Taroona Shot Tower is also Haunted
Joseph Moir was the Scottish businessman who built Taroona Shot Tower. Moir was born near the England/Scotland border in 1809 and migrated to what would become Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) in 1829, at the age of twenty. Moir was a builder in Scotland and so was employed by the colonial government in 1834 as 'Clerk of public works for the colony', meaning he could help design some of the buildings in Van Diemen's land. Such as the Anglican church in Pontville, Moir became more influential in the colonial parliament because of his work.
In 1844 he returned to Scotland to marry Elizabeth Paxton, five years later, Moir decided to start an ironmongery business and travelled to Britain to collect hardware items. The family opened a store in Hobart which proved very successful. Using money made from the store, Moir bought a plot of land in Taroona in 1855 and built a new house for his family to live in on the property. In 1862, Moir began planning the construction of the Taroona Shot Tower. The Shot tower was completed in 1870 but after this Joseph Moir became very ill and four years later he passed away. Joseph Moir was originally buried in the family crypt that was by the cliffs below the shot tower but his body was later moved, his final resting place is unknown.
Joseph's son, also called Joseph took over the business and was made to sell the store in Hobart shortly after his fathers death, he later sold the shot tower to his brother-in-law who closed Taroona Shot Tower in 1901. It is said that Joseph Moir's ghost is still in the Shot tower, since lights have been seen at the top of the tower late at night and the door leading into the tower from the factory, which is usually locked, sometimes opens by itself.