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Fruit palace is a partly derisive and partly humorous colloquial term used in parts of metropolitan Australia (particularly Sydney) to refer to a style of residential housing embraced largely by successful southern European migrants to that country in the latter decades of the 20th century.
Fruit palaces are typically large 2-storey freestanding dwellings, constructed of red or cream brick, roofed in red terracotta tile. In most respects save their size and the decorative elements used to embellish them, they are typical of most other Australian residential housing of the 1970s and 80s.
At the time of their construction fruit palaces were often disparaged as oversized, ostentatious, tasteless expressions of their owner's material success - particularly in their use of such elements (uncommon for the time) - as double entrance doorways, double garages and wide pebblecreted verandahs bordered by long, white-painted concrete balustrades, punctuated by Corinthian support columns.
The name "fruit palace" refers to the buildings' size, the self-conscious use of Graeco-Italian-inspired decorative elements in their design, and the stereotypical livelihood of the buildings' owners as market gardeners, providores and fruitshop owners.
Fruit palaces are particularly common in parts of southwestern Sydney where populations of southern European migrants settled from the 1950s onwards. Some of the best examples can be found in the suburbs stretching from Marrickville and Earlwood through to Bankstown. Similar houses are to be found in Melbourne, especially in the northern suburbs of Lalor and Thomastown, although the term "Fruit Palace" is not used in Melbourne.
In many respects fruit palaces anticipate the McMansion contemporary style of residential architecture.