Photo: Bernard Spragg, Coop’s Shot Tower
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. It is located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip, with its City Centre situated at the northernmost point of the bay – near the estuary of the Yarra River. Population: 4.35 million.
Last Half Hour: Ancient Places, Melbourne – Look around at any Australian city, places built since white settlement, places built on other ancient places. In this series we travel around Australia, walking the hard landscapes of modern Australia and trying to imagine the place that was. This week we travel along the Yarra River and visit the site of first contact.
About the photo: Bernard Spragg writes:
Once the tallest building in all of early Melbourne, Coop’s Shot Tower was soon eclipsed by gargantuan skyscrapers and other modern urban behemoths, but rather than being torn down in the name of progress, a giant cone was built over the historic bullet factory to keep it safe. Originally built in 1888 the tall brick tower was used to create shot pellets. Such structures were not uncommon during the era as the process of creating the little lead balls involved letting droplets of molten metal fall the length of the tower into pools of water that would flash form them into their spherical shape. During its heyday, Coop’s tower could produce around six tons of shot a week. Luckily, the need for so much fire power dwindled over the years and the site diversified into other metal works. While the tower was never abandoned, the metal working at the site eventually ceased and the 164-foot tower became just a landmark.