Gambo, NL, incorporated as a town in 1964, population 1984 (2011c), 2072 (2006c). The Town of Gambo is an amalgamation of three communities - Dark Cove, Middle Brook and Gambo - stretching along the shore at the end of Freshwater Bay, a long indraft of BONAVISTA BAY. Gambo, whose name is from the Portuguese gama, meaning doe, or more likely from "gambo," a sledge to haul timber, first appears in the 1857 census and thereafter grew as a major lumbering, sawmilling and salmon-fishing centre.
In the 1860s David Smallwood (grandfather of Joseph SMALLWOOD) began a sizable sawmill, which became the first in Newfoundland powered by steam. After the trans-insular railway reached Gambo in the 1890s, the town became a link between coastal boats and the rail line.
Residents continued to be employed cutting or processing timber products for other local mills and for large paper companies until a series of forest fires (especially in 1961) consumed most of the remaining stands. Although the railway ceased operations in 1988, Gambo on the route of the Trans-Canada Highway and at the start of the highway to northern Bonavista Bay, continues to be a major regional service centre.