Abandoned El Caballo Theme Park, Perth,

Abandoned El Caballo Theme Park in Perth, Western Australia│Abandoned World Photography Urbex

Update April 2024: Security is tightening on the property. Explore at your own risk. 

The abandoned El Caballo Blanco is a former Spanish equine theme park situated in Perth, Western Australia. It features grand showgrounds, a ‘Rampage’ aqua slide and pools, a small wildlife zoo, rollers coaster, lifestyle village, stables, VIP areas, bars, restaurants, a theatre and a championship golf course (still in use).

During its peak time of operation in the 70’s and 80’s, over a quarter of a million people would visit every year to marvel at the white Andalusian stallions with rainbow manes and gemstone-clad riders perform tricks of all kinds. But what was once the prime spot for an exciting family day out, a wedding or even a weekend stay at a posh resort, is now deserted after being bought by an Australian Aboriginal trust to house homeless people.

Just to give perspective on just how posh this place used to be, employees would allegedly drive around the paddocks in Rolls Royce’s to round up horses! Very fancy indeed.

The History of El Caballo Equine Theme Park, WA

In 1970, Australian born Ray Williams travelled the world looking for what he considered to be the perfect horse to breed and cross with Australian horses. He had fallen in love with Spanish Andalusian horses after seeing the famous Alvaro Domecq troupe perform in London, so it’s no surprise he headed for Jerez in Spain to fulfil his dream.

El Caballo Blanco, Perth, back in it's hey-day.
El Caballo Blanco, Perth, back in it's hey-day.

Williams acquired the Andalusian stallion ‘Bodeguero’ and returned to Perth to start the “Bodeguero Stud”. And so, he began his equine empire and established El Caballo Blanco on the Great Eastern Highway.

But the empire didn’t stop in Perth. Soon after, he also founded an El Caballo Blanco in Sydney (1979) and in the 1980’s he expanded it to Disneyland in the USA, where he eventually passed away. The Sydney site closed in 2000, soon after Mr Williams’s death, and has since been taken over by Wests Leagues Club. It’s now a home for poker machines and gambling, a sad ending to what was once a beautiful resort flourishing with happy humans and horses.

Horse show at El Caballo Blanco, Perth, in the 1980s
Horse show at El Caballo Blanco, Perth, in the 1980s

The 2023 Controversy Over the Land Sale

Recent controversy over the El Caballo Resort land purchase in 2020 has placed the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) at odds with Equity Trustees, the company managing the Noongar Charitable Trust. SWALSC is heavily criticising the decisions that led to significant financial losses for funds intended to benefit the Noongar community.

The Dispute:

  • SWALSC founded the Noongar Charitable Trust (a separate entity) and is now condemning Equity Trustee’s 2020 purchase of the El Caballo Resort for $12 million.
  • The August 2023 sale of the resort at a $4 million loss further fuels their anger.
  • SWALSC denies approving the purchases, claiming they were part of an abandoned 2019 plan to create rehabilitation and accommodation facilities.
  • An investigation by the WA Charitable Trusts Commission is underway, prompted by SWALSC’s request.

Conflicting Statements:

  • SWALSC maintains they are not involved in the Noongar Charitable Trust’s decision-making.
  • Equity Trustees insists they acted on SWALSC’s initial request for a social housing project, and have complied with the council’s instructions since its abandonment.

The WA Charitable Trusts Commission is actively investigating the matter to determine the validity of the accusations. The El Caballo Resort remains in the possession of the Noongar Charitable Trust, with its future hanging in the balance.

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