As one of few people to study urban Aborigines in the early 1960s, Judy Inglis was well situated to comment on the workings of government policies such as assimilation. Her sudden death in 1962, aged thirty-two, cut short her contribution to contemporary debates and froze in time her thinking. Inglis wanted her academic work to help the subjects of her study. Although she struggled with the idea of blending anthropology with activism, her desire to effect positive change ultimately outweighed other considerations. By her own account, she was "mixed up in a bit of do-goodery". In the decade after her death, the same impulse drove her friend Diane Barwick and mentor W. E. H. Stanner, both fellow anthropologists, to bring into being "Aboriginal History" as a field of study. This article explores the links between Judy Inglis' approach to anthropology-as-activism and the origins of Aboriginal History.