Neville Pressler (right) being led by police.
Neville Pressler (right) being led by police. Archive

Kalkie killer: One of Bundaberg’s most ghastly murders

THE victims of "one of the most ghastly murders in Bundaberg's history" were found in their home in Kalkie in May, 1959.

Clifford John Golchert, 33, and his wife Marjorie Frances, 30, had been savagely battered about the head and body before being shot.

Originally labelled the Kalkie murders, the case later became widely known as the Pressler murders - after the man who was found guilty and jailed for life.

The Golcherts were found by family members who went to convey the news of an aunt's death.

When police went to the house they found the walls and ceiling were spattered with blood, but there was no sign of a struggle according to the May 20 edition of the News-Mail.

Autopsies revealed the truly brutal nature of the couple's deaths.

They had both been shot in the head after being savagely bashed.

Police were baffled in their search for a motive - the Golcherts, who had no children, were well like in the community and had been married several years.

The couple was laid to rest at the Bundaberg General Cemetery on May 21.

They were so popular that 500 mourners turned up to St John's Lutheran Church to pay their respects.

Mourners were not to know that one of the pallbearers for Mr Golchert's coffin was the very man who had killed him.

Neville Pressler and his brother George helped carry the coffin, and a wreath was laid on behalf of the Presslers.

It would be months before the truth would be revealed.

The community of Kalkie waited nervously as police worked to solve the case.

Seven local detectives had been given the task of tracking down the Kalkie killer or killers, joined by five more from Brisbane led by Detective Inspector William Cronau.

The search took a dramatic turn when gunshots were heard in Kalkie on May 21, but the noise was later attributed to larrikins.

Local church pastors appealed to the public to come forward with any information that could help find the killer.

By May 30, Insp Cronau said he believed detectives were closing in on the Kalkie killer and had already interviewed him.

However, it took another month before an arrest could be made.

In the meantime, Insp Cronau put forward the theory that the couple was murdered after the killer tried to "force himself on Mrs Golchert".

His overtures spurned while Mr Golchert was away fishing fishing, the killer waited for him to return before attacking the couple, the inspector said on June 9.

In a bid to solve the case, Deputy Premier Mr Morris announced a reward of 1000 pounds on June 19 and a week later stepped it up by offering immunity to any accomplice who came forward to reveal the killer's identity.

Cane farmer Neville William Pressler was arrested on July 2 after contacting police the day before.

A length of piping and a key which fit the Golcherts' back door were later found in a Kalkie paddock.

Pressler was refused bail and committed for trial on August 19 after a three-day hearing in the police court.

He returned from Brisbane jail by train under police escort on October 26 for his trial in the Circuit Court at Bundaberg.

In a confession read to the court, Pressler admitted to police he had hit the couple with something in his hand.

"They were both howling so I shot them to put them out of their misery," he allegedly told police.

On November 6 he was found guilty of murdering Mrs Golchert and sentenced to life in prison.

Pressler was never tried for Mr Golchert's murder.

Boggo Road jail.
Boggo Road jail.

After his conviction, Mr Pressler offered a reward of 5000 pounds for the arrest and conviction of "the real killer".

Solicitor Mr Geoffrey Boreham told the News-Mail on November 11 that he had been instructed to lodge an appeal against Pressler's life sentence.

The appeal was not expected to be heard until February 1960, he said.

In 2006, the Australian ran a story about the case

"The motive for the killings is unclear to this day, but it is known that Marjorie Golchert had complained to relatives that Pressler, a Bundaberg Christian Brothers College old boy and a champion rugby league player, was sexually fixated on her," the article said.

"When her husband was away, Pressler would go to her while she was milking cows and say, "I'd like to play with your t*** like that." This hearsay evidence was not admitted at Pressler's trial, but there was other evidence of Pressler's shame that other sexual advances to her were about to be revealed."

According to the story in the Australian, things became even stranger when Mr Pressler's uncle was found dead.

Crystal Jones

Six months after Pressler was sent to Boggo Road jail, his uncle Henry Pressler, 67, was found shot dead in a Bundaberg house.

Pressler's widowed mother, Enid Pressler, was charged with the murder but a jury acquitted her after a lurid trial that shook the state.

Police claimed she murdered Henry Pressler after having forced him at gunpoint to sign a confession that he had killed the Golcherts and that her son was innocent.

 

Crystal Jones

Mr Pressler served 16 years in prison and was 45 when he was paroled.

He remarried and returned to farming in Baffle Creek and Emerald, becoming a millionaire in the process.

He died in Bundaberg in 2006 aged 76, and protested his innocence to the end.

- Sandra Godwin

CAB TALK: Doug MacDonald reflects on his time as a taxi driver.

Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail
CAB TALK: Doug MacDonald reflects on his time as a taxi driver. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail Scottie Simmonds BUN280312TAX2

Cabbie remembers the time he was a taxi driver for the Kalkie killer jury - written by Emily Prain

THE year is 1957, and a 24-year-old Bundaberg man by the name of Doug MacDonald is handed the keys to a black Holden FE sedan.

He sets off to greet the hustle and bustle of Bourbong St. The taxi's top lightbox bearing the words 303 Taxi is aglow, advertising its vacancy.

Now 78, Mr MacDonald vividly remembers the colourful characters and events of his time as a driver with Ace Taxis from 1957-1960.

"I was here when they built the port, and the fellow who designed it was a man by the name of Captain Krummel, and I used to drive him," he recalled.

"He wouldn't ride with anyone else."

Mr MacDonald struck up a friendship with the engineer, and was even given the highly important task of chauffeuring his daughters around Bundaberg when they came to visit.

"They said there were only two other fellows in Australia capable of (building the port), but they were all alcoholics," he said.

According to Mr MacDonald, Capt Krummel didn't mind a drink either.

Although not a leadfoot, the taxi driver was put to the test following a request by the Captain to get him from the Port to the Bundaberg Aerodrome in less than half an hour.

"I thought, 'right-o, we'll try it'. Well, we made it," he said.

In 1959, the city was rocked when Neville Pressler - dubbed the Kalkie Killer - was sent to trial for murdering his next-door neighbours in their beds.

"During the trial, they rang us from the court to take the jury out to the scene of the crime," Mr MacDonald said.

"A policeman came out and checked the car to make sure there were no newspapers in there."

Ordered not to speak to the jury, Mr MacDonald sat waiting in his taxi.

"A police car came out and they had the accused sitting with him," he said.

"(Pressler) got out and he leaned up against the vehicle - he never looked at the (victims') house once."

Mr MacDonald said there was a real sense of camaraderie between the fleet of Ace Taxis.

"We all got along well with the taxi drivers," he said.

"If things were quiet, we used to hop into other blokes' cars and have a yarn."

There were 26 cabs operating in Bundaberg in the late 1950s - only three fewer than what the city has now.

"Most young people didn't own a car in those days," Mr MacDonald said.



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