The Roper was discovered by Europens in 1845, when the explorer Ludwig Leichardt crossed on his way west from Moreton Bay to Port Essington. He name it after a member of his group, John Roper. It is can be used by boats as far as the Roper Bar, and in the 1880's there were several paddlesteamers working on the river.
- "Roper River". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. 2011 [last update]. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/509545/Roper-River. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Roper Bar". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Northern-Territory/Roper-Bar/2005/02/17/1108500201664.html. Retrieved 17 June 2011.