The old Shot Tower in Melbourne Central is mostly occupied by an R.M. Williams store, but the base of the tower has been preserved and is now possibly Melbourne's smallest museum. I was surprised not only by the size, but also by the unexpected nostalgia it triggered in me. No matter that nostalgia is longing for a past that never existed, the Shot Tower Museum's short and bittersweet presentation of Melbourne's growth suggests that the romantic past you might long for was once a reality.
The museum is not just a standard celebration of history and progress; it also seems to mourn the past. And for the brief ten minutes it took to explore, so did I. Melbourne is relatively young in terms of cities, but suddenly it felt old, like it had grown larger and more complicated in the blink of an eye. I felt like I was getting a rare glimpse into what my city was like in its childhood.
The uneven marshland, the chaotic horse-drawn traffic and the emus grazing on Elizabeth Street are one hundred years gone, but vestiges of Melbourne's wild and optimistic youth remain, and the Shot Tower is one of these.
It won't take much time out of your day; the information is succinct and there are a few preserved contraptions in the museum itself. You can spend some time browsing R.M. Williams if you want to linger in the old building for longer.
So go to the Shot Tower Museum and remind yourself that you are part of a progression of society and place, no matter where you live. Remind yourself that things were happening before you were here and that they will continue to happen after you leave. Keep that feeling with you when you step out into the scramble of lights and colours that is modern day Melbourne. I promise it will make your life better.