Roper River

Last updated

StateLibQld 1 113736 Goodwill (ship).jpg
The Goodwill on the Roper River
Australia Northern Territory relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Location of the Roper River mouth in the Northern Territory
Native nameRopa Riba  (Australian Kriol)
Territory Northern Territory
Physical characteristics
Source confluenceWaterhouse River and Roper Creek
  locationeast of Mataranka
  coordinates 14°55′58″S133°08′59″E / 14.93278°S 133.14972°E / -14.93278; 133.14972
  elevation126 m (413 ft)
Mouth Limmen Bight
Gulf of Carpentaria
14°42′40″S135°19′42″E / 14.71111°S 135.32833°E / -14.71111; 135.32833 Coordinates: 14°42′40″S135°19′42″E / 14.71111°S 135.32833°E / -14.71111; 135.32833
0 m (0 ft)
Length1,010 km (630 mi)
Basin size81,794 km2 (31,581 sq mi)
  average158.4 m3/s (5,590 cu ft/s)
Basin features
  leftChambers River, Jalboi River
  right Strangways River, Hodgson River
National park Elsey National Park

The Roper River is a large perennial river located in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory of Australia.


Location and features

Formed by the confluence of the Waterhouse River and Roper Creek, the Roper River rises east of Mataranka in the Elsey National Park and flows generally east for over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) to meet the sea in Limmen Bight on the Gulf of Carpentaria. The river is joined by fifteen tributaries including the Chambers, Strangways, Jalboi, Hodgson and the Wilton Rivers. The river descends 126 metres (413 ft) over its 1,010-kilometre (630 mi) course [1] and has a catchment area of 81,794 square kilometres (31,581 sq mi), which is one of the largest river catchment areas in the Northern Territory. [2] The Roper River is navigable for about 145 kilometres (90 mi), until the tidal limit at Roper Bar, and forms the southern boundary of the region known as Arnhem Land. Mataranka Hot Springs and the township of Mataranka lie close to the river at its western end. Port Roper lies near its mouth on Limmen Bight.

The river has a mean annual outflow of 5,000 gigalitres (1.1×1012 imp gal; 1.3×1012 US gal). [3]


The first European to explore the Roper River was Ludwig Leichhardt in 1845 as he made his way from Moreton Bay to Port Essington. Leichhardt crossed the river at Roper Bar, a rocky shelf which conveniently lies at the high tide limit on the river. He named the river after John Roper, a member of the expedition. [4]

Roper River Mission

The Roper River Mission was established by the Church of England Missionary Society in 1908. After it was closed in 1968, the government took over management of the community. [5] In 1988, control of the town was handed to the Yugul Mangi Community Government Council, and the township was renamed Ngukurr. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

Protected areas of the Northern Territory

The protected areas of the Northern Territory consists of protected areas managed by the governments of the Northern Territory and Australia and private organisations with a reported total area of 335,527 square kilometres (129,548 sq mi) being 24.8% of the total area of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Mitchell River (Queensland)

The Mitchell River is a river located in Far North Queensland, Australia. The river rises on the Atherton Tableland about 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Cairns and flows about 750 kilometres (470 mi) northwest across Cape York Peninsula from Mareeba to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Flinders River

The Flinders River is the longest river in Queensland, Australia, at approximately 1,004 kilometres (624 mi). It was named in honour of the explorer Matthew Flinders. The catchment is sparsely populated and mostly undeveloped. The Flinders rises on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in North West Queensland and flows generally north-west through the Gulf Country, across a large, flat clay pan, before entering the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Victoria River (Northern Territory) River in the Northern Territory, Australia

The Victoria River is a river in the Victoria Bonaparte bioregion of the Northern Territory, Australia.

Roper Gulf Region Local government area in the Northern Territory, Australia

Roper Gulf Regional Council is a local government area of the Northern Territory, Australia. The region covers an area of 185,210 square kilometres (71,510 sq mi) and had a population of 7,397 in June 2018.

McArthur River

The McArthur River is a river in the Northern Territory of Australia which flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria at Port McArthur, opposite the Sir Edward Pellew Group of Islands. The river was named by Ludwig Leichhardt while he explored the area in 1845. He named the River after James MacArthur and the MacArthur family of Camden, who were enthusiastic supporters of his expedition. The McArthur River has significance for the local Aboriginal communities, who use it for fishing and other traditional activities.

The Calvert River is a river in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Limmen Bight

Limmen Bight is a bight, or large, open bay, located in the Northern Territory of Australia at the western end of the Gulf of Carpentaria about 360 kilometres (220 mi) east of the town of Katherine. It is part of the traditional lands and waters of the Marra people. It was named in April 1644 by Abel Tasman for one of his ships on his voyage of exploration along the northern Australian coast. It contains the second largest area of tidal flats in the Northern Territory.

Limmen National Park Protected area in the Northern Territory, Australia

Limmen National Park, announced in 2012, is the third largest national park in the Northern Territory, after Judbarra / Gregory National Park, with an area of approximately 9,369 square kilometres (3,617 sq mi). Located about 600 km south-east of Darwin on the Gulf of Carpentaria, the park incorporates wetlands, sandstone structures and numerous rivers, including the Limmen Bight River from which the park takes its name.

Liverpool River

Liverpool River is a river in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is the largest of the tidal river systems of northern Arnhem Land, which includes two major tributaries, the Tomkinson and Mann Rivers.

Goyder River River in Australia

The Goyder River is a river in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Towns River

The Towns River is a river in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Limmen Bight River

The Limmen Bight River is a river in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Rosie River

The Rosie River also known as Rosie Creek is a river in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Robinson River (Northern Territory)

The Robinson River is a river in Australia's Northern Territory.

Settlement Creek

The Settlement Creek is a creek located in the Northern Territory and the state of Queensland, Australia.

Nicholson River (Queensland)

The Nicholson River is a river located in the Northern Territory and the state of Queensland, Australia.

Gregory River (Australia) River in Queensland, Australia

The Gregory River is a river located in the Northern Territory and the state of Queensland, Australia. The river is the largest perennial river in arid and semi-arid Queensland, one of the few permanently flowing rivers in the northwest of Queensland.

Hundred of Hawarden

Hundred of Hawarden was a Hundred of Gladstone County, Northern Territory of Australia.

The Wadere were an indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory.


  1. 1 2 "Map of Roper River, NT". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. "Overview of the Roper River Catchment" (PDF). Roper River Catchment: An Assessment of the Physical and Ecological Condition of the Roper River and its Major Tributaries. Northern Territory Government, Department of Land Resource Management. January 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. "Roper River" (PDF). TRaCK. 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. "Roper, John (1822–1895)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. 1976. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  5. "Profile". Northern Territory Government. Dept of Community Welfare. Archived from the original on 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  6. "Roper River Mission - Place". National Centre for Indigenous Genomics. The Australian National University. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2020.