Shot Tower - sent me weak at the knees
Hobart Travel Blog› entry 34 of 61 › view all entries
Wow. What a climb. Itâ€™s not the number of the 259 steps to the top thatâ€™s the problem, itâ€™s the feeling that the spindly little 137-year-old steps and handrails are going to give way. Each step of the spiral staircase is a small thin plank of wood that creaks under foot. I was expecting to go crashing through to the bottom at any minute. I had visions of me starring in my own version of â€˜National Treasureâ€™ only there would be no Nicolas Cage to rescue me. I held on tight to the handrail and didnâ€™t let go until I saw the light at the end of the tower, so to speak. Once I reached the top, the floor was much more solid and I had no problem going out onto the narrow platform to enjoy the wonderful view. I was out there for a few minutes when the wind picked up and nearly blew me over the side to the ground 48 metres below.
Scotsman Joseph Moir built the shot tower in 1870 to produce lead shot for contemporary muzzle loading sports guns. Ingots cast from lead, with added arsenic and antimony, were remelted in cauldrons and then poured through colanders from the top of the tower, forming droplets, which became roughly spherical as they dropped into a tub of water at the base of the tower.
On my way back down the tower, I was thinking about how this Scotsman climbed these stairs every day to make his shots. I just kept shaking my head; I couldnâ€™t do it. Maybe after a few shots of a different kind...
The shot tower is a 20-minute drive south of Hobart along a picturesque, winding road to the seaside suburb of Taroona. Set amongst pretty gardens with a coffee shop, gift shop and small museum, it makes a nice little pit stop on the way to the Huon Valley.