Joey Smallwood | 1st Premier of Newfoundland

From: Gambo, Newfoundland

Joseph Roberts “Joey” Smallwood was the main force that brought the Dominion of Newfoundland into the Canadian confederation in 1949.
  • Born in 1900 in Gambo, Newfoundland
  • In office 1949 – 1972
  • Died in 1991 in St. John’s, Newfoundland
Joey Smallwood: To be Canadian


Joey Smallwood became the first Premier of Newfoundland and served until 1972.

As premier, he vigorously promoted economic development, championed the welfare state, and emphasized modernization of education and transportation.

From CBC Newfoundland archives: when Fidel Castro gave his first interview outside of Cuba in 1973, it happened at the request of Joey Smallwood. The late CBC reporter Ken Meeker was there; he tells the story about the two men chatting at Gander International Airport.


Gambo is a town in northeastern Newfoundland on Freshwater Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. The first way office was established in 1882.

Smallwood Interpretation Centre, Gambo 

Joey’s Lookout at Gambo, 2012

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