St. Joseph's Parish was established in 1872. At that time, the parish encompassed the communities on both sides of Salmonier Arm as well as Muscle Pond (now called O'Donnell's) and Admiral's Beach which are located to the south of the south side of Salmonier Arm. Other communities such as Mother Rex and Mosquito on Colinet Island, Harricott, Colinet, Pinch Gut Tickles (later known as Assumption Passage), Forrestral (later known as North Harbour), John's Pond and Cape Dog were also included in St. Joseph's Parish because of their close proximity to Salmonier Arm. The ecclesiastical centre of the parish was St. Joseph's, St. Mary's Bay.
In 1927 the communities of Mount Carmel-Mitchell's Brook-St. Catherine's, Harricott, Colinet and North Harbour were separated from St. Joseph's in order to form a new parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Currently, St. Joseph's Parish includes the communities of Forest Field, New Bridge, St. Joseph's, O'Donnell's and Admiral's Beach.
Initially, St. Joseph's Parish was administered by Father James Duffy of Assumption Parish, St. Mary's. The first priest appointed to St. Joseph's Parish was Father John J. St. John who came in 1874 and stayed for twenty-two years, until 1896. Another long serving priest was Father John Michael Enright who arrived in 1919 and stayed until his death in 1966. In 1989, the parish found itself without a priest and realized that, due to a shortage of priests, they would not be receiving another. Instead, Archbishop Alphonsus Penny appointed a Pastoral Team to the parish which was made up of a priest administrator and two Sisters of Mercy. By 1995, however, this team no longer existed and there was some discussion of amalgamating St. Joseph's Parish with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish. In the end, this notion was rejected. Currently, St. Joseph's is maintained as a separate parish while being administered by the parish priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
While a Roman Catholic chapel was built in St. Joseph's sometime around 1840, a larger church was not built until 1866. This church served the people of the parish for 89 years. In 1975, however, the church was deemed unsafe and a new one had to be built. The fonds does not give a lot of detail on the smaller chapels in the communities of St. Joseph's Parish. One correspondence from 1960, however, does mention that an old school chapel on the lower end of the south side of O'Donnell's had deteriorated beyond repair and had to be taken down.
Likewise, the fonds does not give a lot of information on the early establishment of schools in this parish. Outside sources say, however, that the school chapel at O'Donnell's was probably built in 1921. It is also mentioned that, prior to 1966, Newbridge had a one room school which taught up to grade eight. The high school students from Newbridge had to attend school at Mount Carmel and seek board with other families. A form in the fonds suggests that by 1960, there were also schools at St. Joseph's and Admiral's Beach. By this time a new school had also been built at O'Donnell's. In the late 1960's, however, centralization of schools took place all over Newfoundland and, in 1968, a regional high school, Enright Memorial Academy, was opened.