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Roper Gulf Regional Council LGA

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Roper Gulf Regional Council LGA is 7,434, with a population density of 0.00 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

The Roper Gulf Regional Council area is located in the north-eastern section of the Northern Territory, between 200 and 1,000 kilometres south-east of the Darwin CBD. The Roper Gulf Regional Council area is bounded by the West Arnhem Regional Council area in the north, the Developing East Arnhem Limited area and the Gulf of Carpentaria in the east, the Barkly Regional Council area in the south, and the Victoria Daly Regional Council area and the Katherine Town Council area in the west.

Name origin

Roper Gulf Regional Council is named after the Roper River, which was named after John Roper, a member of Ludwig Leichhardt’s expedition in 1845.

Settlement history

Traditionally, indigenous people lived in the area, and continue to do so, mainly in small communities. European settlement dates primarily from 1872 when the Overland Telegraph Line was built, although the area was first explored in 1845. Land used mainly for pastoral purposes, particularly cattle grazing. Some growth took place during the late 1800s. Growth resumed from the 1920s, aided by the establishment of mining near Barunga in 1913 and the opening of the Adelaide-Darwin railway line in 1926, with a station at Mataranka. The population increased from the 1990s, rising from about 5,000 in 1991 to about 7,700 in 2011.

Land use

The Roper Gulf Regional Council area is predominantly rural, with numerous small townships, indigenous communities and outstations. The majority of the population are Aboriginal. The main townships and communities are Barunga, Beswick, Borroloola, Bulman, Daly Waters, Jilkminggan, Larrimah, Manyallaluk, Mataranka, Minyerri, Ngukurr, Numbulwar and Robinson River. Rural land is used mainly for cattle grazing, with mining and tourism also being important industries. The Council area also includes several small islands. The Council area encompasses a total land area of nearly 186,000 square kilometres.


The Council area is served by the Stuart Highway.

Major features

Major features of the Council area include Barranyi (North Island) National Park, Elsey National Park (including Mataranka Thermal Pool and Bitter Springs), Nitmiluk National Park (including Leliyn (Edith Falls) and Katherine Gorge), part of Kakadu National Park, Limmen National Park, Limmen Bight Marine Park, Bulwaddy Conservation Reserve, Caranbirini Conservation Reserve, Pungalina-Seven Emu Sanctuary, Wongalara Wildlife Sanctuary, Larrimah Museum, Never Never Museum, Stockyard Gallery, McArthur River Mine, the Roper River, and various beaches, islands, lodges and camps.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Roper Gulf Regional Council area were various Aboriginal tribes.

Included areas

The Roper Gulf Regional Council area includes the townships, localities and communities of Arnold, Barunga, Beswick, Beswick Creek, Birdum, Borroloola, Bulman Weemol, Calvert, Daly Waters, Elsey, Flying Fox, Gulung Mardrulk, Jilkminggan, Larrimah, Limmen, Mataranka, McArthur (part), Minyerri, Ngukurr, Nitmiluk, Numbulwar, Numburindi, Pellew Islands, Robinson River, Sturt Plateau and Wilton.


Much of this area is Aboriginal freehold land held by the Northern Land Council.