Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Peter Reynolds


This thesis examines Aboriginal mothers as one of the major variables to their daughters' participation and achievement in tertiary education. It presents the findings of research that Investigated specific nurturing behaviours of four Aboriginal mothers who assisted their adult daughters to participate and achieve in tertiary education. The research is qualitative in nature and research data was collected using interviews and ethnographic observations of the eight participants over a two and a half-year period. The observations and interviews were made of Aboriginal mothers whose daughters had achieved a degree or diploma through a university or further education institution. The findings show that these Aboriginal mothers have made a significant contribution to their daughters' participation and achievement in tertiary education. This has occurred through the demonstration of specific nurturing behaviours that have continued throughout their daughters' adult years, and which have been exhibited in the physical and emotional environments that these mothers have created. The research shows that Aboriginal mothers, given that they create functional and supportive environments, have the capacity to significantly contribute to the success of their daughters' tertiary pursuits. The behaviours and attributes demonstrated by these Aboriginal mothers in these functional and supportive environments were found to be: (1) Pride (2) Optimism (3) Goal Orientation and Discipline (4) Devotion and Communication (5) Role- modelling (6) Autonomy in Decision Making and (7) Strength and Tenacity. The implications of this research may have consequences for Aboriginal education and parenting programs by providing information as to which factors contribute to the building of a firm educational basis for Aboriginal girls and which factors support the attainment of academic goals through the provision of supportive and nurturing family relationships.