This article argues that schools acted as important "emotional frontiers" in colonial contexts. As places where missionaries, government and Indigenous people met, colonial schools could connect, disconnect and recreate emotional ties. Drawing on two cases from the mid-nineteenth century, one from Natal and the other from Western Australia, the article highlights the centrality of affect—positive and negative—in histories of colonial schooling. Concerns about the vulnerability of Indigenous children shaped these affective exchanges. The examination of education and schools can provide an important way into thinking about the ambiguities of colonial entanglements and exchange.