South East Bight
South East Bight (SEB) is a small, isolated community located on the western shores of Placentia Bay on the Burin Peninsula. The only way to get to South East Bight is by boat, on the ferry named the Norcon Oceanus. It is sometimes thought to be an island because of this. But the reason is that there are no roads accessing the community. Many people from the community travel to Monkstown in the winter by ski-doo, but is very uncommon to try to get there in the summer, because of marsh, bogs, ponds and hills. To get to SEB one must travel towards Marystown on the Burin Peninsula, turn off the highway at Boat Harbour, travel to Petite Forte and then take a half-hour ferry ride to South East Bight.
South East Bight
|Province||Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Time zone||UTC-3:30 (Newfoundland Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-2:30 (Newfoundland Daylight)|
The community name came from the direction one takes to reach the community, and bight refers to a wide inlet in the coast. The first settlers of South East Bight came in the early 1850s from England and Ireland. These settlers were people involved in the fishery. In the late 19th century South East Bight was a very busy place, with a commercial farm, a slate quarry and a couple of lobster factories. Fishing was the main occupation and remains so today. In the 19th century the population was about 30 families and by the 1930s it dropped to about five families then grew to about 30 families again in the 1950s. When resettlement occurred in the 1960s many people left the community but nine families came in from surrounding places like Darby's Harbour, Clattice Harbour, and Channels Harbour. Many of these families still live in the community and return to these resettled communities to visit their cabins. The community is fully Roman Catholic religion and every family is supported by the fishery. Family names that remain today are Lake, Ward, Whyte, Hefferan, Jones, Murphy, Brewer and Hepditch.
South East Bight was originally settled by the Handlins in 1835. By 1836 the population had risen to about 30 people, all of Roman Catholic religion. A census taken in 1871 showed that the main families were Dunphy, Hayne, Hefferon, Hunt, Pitman, Reddy, Ward, and Wight. Most of these names, or variations thereof, are still common in South East Bight today, however there are variations in spellings. This could be due to the manner in which the census was taken years ago and the amount of traveling the papers done before they were actually recorded.
South East Bight once had a small slate mine operating but the venture was not feasible and was quickly closed down. Years ago the men traveled to the lumber woods and to mines in places like St. Lawrence, to work in the fall to get extra money to supplement the fishing income.
In the early 20th century the population of South East Bight was approximately 150-160 people. By 1945 it had decreased to 51. In the 50's and 60's it again started to grow until resettlement, when it plummeted to only two families, the Ward's and the White's. In the next few years families like the Lakes, Murphys and Powers moved in from Darby's Harbour, Murphys Cove and Clattice Harbour, and young people began to marry and settle there. Surnames like Brewer, Hefferan, Jones and Hepditch returned to restore the community. The fishery has grown and today is a prosperous enterprise with many people employed in the industry.
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- Watch the wildlife, fish, birds whales & eagles
- Have a chat with some of the residents
- Hike the trail to Great Paradise or Little Paradise
- Visit one of the three cemeteries in the community & research your roots
- Fish from the wharf for connors or sea trout
- Stroll out Paradise road and go trouting in one of the many ponds along the trail or go trouting in George's Pond or Bona Pond.
- Be adventurous and hike up Bona Hill and get a panoramic view of the community, Paradise Sound and Placentia Bay.
- Go swimming in Bona Pond or take a dip off the wharf
- Have a picnic or a BBQ
- If you're lucky enough, take a boat ride in and around Paradise Sound to the various beaches and resettled communities.
- If you happen to be here on the weekend of the annual Garden Party, take part in the various activities, like dancing, games of chance, ticket spins, poker walks etc.
- Catch a codfish during the recreational fishery
- Roam the hills and pick Blueberries, Bakeapples or Partridge Berries.
- Registered midwives of earlier times were Mary Dunphy and Mary Ward.
- The first mobile phone was installed in 1942, the first modern phone in 1980.
- School and church burned down on March 24, 1954.
- New church built in 1986.
- Government wharf built in 1981.
- Electrical power hooked up on December 20, 1974.
- Power lines connecting South East Bight to main frame installed 1998.
- Community had been serviced by diesel generators since 1974 but has been connected to the main grid since 1998.
- Breakwaters tore down and new road constructed in 1993.
- South East Bight's current population is at approximately 75 people. 2018
- There are 40 households, 10 summer homes and a teacher's residence. 2018
- St. Anne's School has 2 teachers and 13 students from Kindergarten to Level 1. 2018
- Students beyond Level 1 must leave the community to go to school else where.
- South East Bight is a community that is based on the fishing industry
- South East Bight is an isolated community that can be reached by a 30-minute ferry ride from Petite Forte.
- The community offers 2 convenience stores, Post Office, Volunteer Fire Department, Roman Catholic Church and a Doctors Clinic.
- There are 3 cemeteries
- The oldest standing house was owned by Edward Ward, the house is over 100 years old.
- You can walk to nearby resettled communities of Little Paradise & Great Paradise via trails in the community.