The Fettlers Mess is within a precinct that comprises three houses and their outbuildings.
They were built to accommodate track maintenance workers on the North Australian Railway from Pine Creek to Katherine. The Mess building is the oldest, constructed in 1915 (although some reports suggest it is older) and modified sometime between 1946 and 1949.
The building is a highly significant structure historically and architecturally. It is timber-framed with corrugated galvanised iron with sun control and ventilation devices designed especially for the North Australia climate. The building is an excellent representation of its type and is named in honour of W. Wishart, the contractor who built the first railway jetty at Palmerston (Darwin).