Who was Joseph Moir?
At just twenty years old, Scotsman Joseph Moir arrived in Hobart in 1829, one of thousands of hopeful free immigrants who sailed to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1820s. By 1840 he had acquired several properties, government employment and a reputation as a builder of notable colonial buildings such as St Mark’s Anglican Church, Pontville. He returned briefly to Scotland in 1844 to marry Elizabeth Paxton with whom he had at least five children.
A prominent businessman, Moir was active in Hobart’s civic affairs between 1846 and 1873, a year before his death. He built the shot tower and its associated buildings and poured his first shot in 1870.
When he died after a long illness in 1874, Moir left his major business concerns to his sons, James and Joseph. Together with Elizabeth (who only survived him by 15 months) and a daughter, Mary (who died in 1853 at the age of seven) Moir was encrypted in the family mausoleum on the cliffs below the shot tower. Their remains were later re-interred in unmarked graves at Queenborough Cemetery after Joseph relinquished the property in 1901. This cemetery’s graves were removed by Hobart Council in 1963 and Moir’s final resting place remains unknown.