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 Blanco, Perth, 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.
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.
Who was Ray Williams?
Williams was a businessman who dipped his fingers in many pies. He not only ran the El Caballo Blanco’s, but he also founded the butchering empire of Tip Top meats, the Linley Valley Abattoir, a chauffeur company called El Cabs, several farms, a Smallgoods factory and more.
In 2006, a new owner attempted to bring back the magic of El Caballo Blanco in Perth, which is Spanish for ‘the white horse’, but it closed soon after and the stables have been empty since 2019.
2020 marks the year that the magnificent property was sold to an Aboriginal charitable trust that plans to use it to house the homeless, run a refuge and rehabilitation centre and operate childcare and aged care facilities. It will interesting to see what actually happens to this place, and I will be keeping an eye on it for changes and news updates.