The Great Shearers’ Strike of 1891 transformed Australian politics and created the context for the election of the first ‘labourist’ government in the world. This nationally significant history is reflected in Barcaldine’s central heritage precinct, with a large monument to the Tree of Knowledge and spacious Australian Workers Heritage Centre. The Centre was established as the ‘National Monument’ to working men and women when it was opened by Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1991. The Centre is one of a number of industrial museums in the Central West, and exists alongside the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in nearby Longreach. The recent increase in tourism by Grey Nomads has resulted in a more concerted effort to formulate a clear heritage discourse in Barcaldine, one that draws on the town’s labour heritage. This increased emphasis on the heritage of the Great Shearers’ Strike has further politicised an already fraught heritage, and distanced the community from its local heritage spaces and stories. This article reflects on long-standing narratives relating to the local environment as a means to articulate contested heritage discourses, situate the significant labour history and reinforce the local community’s engagement in its heritage.