News

Robin Hood of Warwick stole from farmers, gave to widows

HE STOLE cattle, slaughtered them for his butcher shops and shared the spoils with the town’s struggling widows.
HE STOLE cattle, slaughtered them for his butcher shops and shared the spoils with the town’s struggling widows.

HE was known as the Robin Hood of Warwick.

But to the police of the day he was just a cattle thief.

His name was Mark Betts and he - and his wife Ethel - owned and ran two of the town's butcher shops.

Ethel and Mark Betts ran two of the local butchers in Warwick.
Ethel and Mark Betts ran two of the local butchers in Warwick. Contributed

When Warwick folks saw him riding out of town toting guns on his hips they knew it was business as usual.

And Warwick's savvy lone policeman knew what he was up to.

But no one could prove it.

The setting was horse-drawn Warwick and the years spanned from the 1920s to the 1940s.

It was a time when folks lived on their wits … and our Robin Hood thrived on his.

He got his nickname because religiously once a week he would hand out free meat trays to the widows of the town.

The colourful butcher would hitch up his bullock team every four weeks and head out bush.

OPINION: Story of Warwick's own Robin Hood one to remember

In tow would be his indigenous tracker companion.

Cattle would disappear at his hands, to reappear again as meat on the hook for sale at his butcher's shops.

He left a trail of furious and confused farmers; but no trail for anyone to follow.

Our diligent policeman would do his rounds on horseback and had his own indigenous tracker.

The showdown came in thick bush when both trackers met and Betts was cornered with blood on his hands and butchered cattle strewn on the ground.

What the officer didn't know was Betts's tracker and his tracker were from the same tribe. Betts got the heads-up on the raid.

So Betts had plenty of time to hide the evidence … burnt brands from the hides of the stolen cattle.

"Gotcha at last" cried the policeman.

"No you haven't; where's the evidence," replied Betts.

The policeman and his tracker dug up the entire campsite and couldn't find a single brand among the hides.

Without the evidence the policeman knew he had no case to take to the magistrate.

With that, the policeman and his tracker withdrew.

The evidence? Betts had hidden the farmers' brands in the anatomy of the cattle where the sun doesn't shine.

And each Friday, as a ritual, the widows of Warwick who had lost their breadwinners continued to receive their free week's meat supplies.

Topics:  cattle editors picks history robin hood theft



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Summer forecast to end with a washout

WET WEEK: Weather forecasters predict summer will end with rain on the Southern Downs.

Clear skies set to be the last of the sunshine this summer

Buskers descend on Stanthorpe for championships

Kenny Slide performs at the National Busking Championships South East Queensland event in Stanthorpe on Saturday, February 25.

All manner of music has filled the streets of Stanthorpe.

Classic 'Straya on show at ute muster

DUST, SWEAT AND BEERS:  The ute muster has been a highlight of the Killarney Show.

Petrol and passion unite at ute muster

Local Partners

Fancy dress tea party stirs up the past

EVER wanted to dress up in 19th century attire and don tails and a top hat or an ankle-sweeping dress with a petticoat and corset?


REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Collegians to kick off footy season next week

Collegians coaches (from left) Deb Scanlan, Garth Miller, Ben Brownlie, Matt Collins (U9 assistant), David Hallman, Kerry Scanlan, Josh Williams, Bob Bell, Craig Frattini and Scott Morton.

Plenty of experience in Collegians coaching ranks

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Buskers descend on Stanthorpe for championships

Kenny Slide performs at the National Busking Championships South East Queensland event in Stanthorpe on Saturday, February 25.

All manner of music has filled the streets of Stanthorpe.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!