During the 1940s David Riceman conducted experiments, using trace elements, which demonstrated that the copper and zinc deficient soils of the Ninety Mile Desert could be transformed into a fertile agricultural area. Today the area is known as the Coonalpyn Downs. Dr Riceman’s role in transforming the region is recognised by a plaque on the highway near Keith.
David Riceman studied at Roseworthy College and the University of Adelaide. He joined the CSIR (later CSIRO) in 1935 and remained there until his retirement in 1968 as senior principal research scientist. His contribution was recognised with the awarding of the Australian Medal of Agricultural Science and the conferment of a fellowship of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Sciences, of which he was a foundation member.
Dr Riceman served on the council of Westminster School from its inception and was president of Adelaide Legacy in 1971. He was president of the PAOCA in 1967 and a proud old old boy who attended Old Old Boys assembly from 1979.