Murder on the River of Gold

Bruce Schuler enjoyed the lifestyle of gold fossicking. It gave the retired builder a sense of purpose, of comradeship with like-minded mates, and the thrill of the chase for gold.

He was doing just that, prospecting with his metal detector in a dry gully on the Palmer River, on that day in July 2012.

Then two shots rang out and he was never seen again.”

This is the gripping premise of Queensland author Robert Reid’s newest true crime book.

In Murder on the River of Gold Reid covers the 2012 murder of Bruce Schuler who was gold fossicking in the remote Palmerville Station area in Cape York, Australia.

Bruce’s body has never been found and a rogue, outback couple Stephen and Dianne Struber were convicted of his murder.

Reid takes the listener into the world of life in the remote region of Queensland, he calls in “Australia’s Badlands”, the fascinating world of gold fossickers and the dangerous and lawless lifestyle of the Strubers who for more than 20 years would roam the vast Palmerville Station (the couple held the lease on this self-styled outback kingdom) and River with a gun, threatening anyone who they perceived was trespassing on their land.

A real hero of this story, and it’s a position she’d trade in an instant to have her husband back alive, is Bruce Schuler’s widow Fiona Splitt. Fiona started an intense advocacy campaign in Queensland to have the “no body, no parole” legislation introduced. As a consequence the Strubers will never be released from prison because they deny they murdered Bruce. Fiona still holds hope Bruce’s remains will be found.

Robert Reid is a journalist and author who I admire a lot because of his exhaustive research and passion for the cases he covers. As part of this research for this book Reid even visited Dianne Struber in prison several times.

For the podcast I co-host called Australian True Crime I interviewed Robert about his book in an episode Australia’s Badlands: The Palmerville Station Murder.

We’ve also spoken to Robert Reid before about his coverage of another Queensland case, the deaths of best friends Vicki Arnold and Julie-Anne Leahy.

You can find out more about Robert Reid’s books at his website Murder and Mystery.

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