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



Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

YOU may not associate Brisbane with a burgeoning art scene, but you’d be mistaken.

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

The Gresham's charm will win you over before your first sip.

THESE are the perfect places to hang this winter.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Man sentenced for sexually abusing Southern Downs girl

SENTENCED: Lockyer Valley man sentenced for nine child sex charges.

51-year-old sentenced after being found guilty of child sex charges

Working to wipe out relentless ice scourge

IT'S A KILLER:MP David Littleproud has vowed to tackle the ice epidemic sweeping the state.

Warwick is fighting its own battle against the deadly scourge

A day in the life - Warren Webster

CAREER MOVES: Warren Webster overlooks Palmerin St from his historic Warwick office.

Warren Webster's life could have taken several very different paths

Local Partners

Wonder Woman is a kick-arse superhero romp

WITH so much at stake, thank Zeus that Wonder Woman didn’t fall into the same trap as its DC Extended Universe predecessors.

Everything coming to Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and Amazon Prime Video this June

Orange Is The New Black returns for another season.

Find out what's being added to our streaming services in June.

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

Apparently, the answer is no.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!