The ship was constructed as a single-deck motor vessel named FV Fanejord, built from pine and oak for the Norwegian herring fishing trade. While being a motorised vessel, her masts and booms normally used for cargo handling were capable of being rigged for sailing in an emergency. She was purchased by the American explorer and aviator, Lincoln Ellsworth, for his 1933 Antarctic expedition, refitted and sheathed with oak and armour plate, and renamed Wyatt Earp after the marshal of Dodge City and Tombstone, Arizona. Wyatt Earp was used on four of Ellsworth's Antarctic expeditions between 1933 and 1939, primarily as a base ship for his aircraft.
In February 1939, Wyatt Earp was purchased from Ellsworth by the Government of Australia and handed over to the RAN, which intended to use the ship as a Fleet Auxiliary (Ammunition and Store Carrier). In September 1939, it was decided to rename her Boomerang, but the name was already in use by another Australian vessel. Instead, the ship was commissioned on 25 October 1939 as Wongala, an Australian Aborigine word meaning boomerang.
How's that for multi-culturalism?!