The SA Government is promising to chip-in a "very substantial proportion" of the cost of repairs to gravestones in a cemetery that was vandalised in the state's mid north.

The community of Auburn in the Clare Valley has been shocked by the desecration at its local cemetery, which has left 46 headstones and monuments — some of which commemorate young war victims — smashed and damaged. Police initially estimated the repairs could cost between $200,000 and $300,000. ocal state MP Geoff Brock said he had been told the figure could be as high as $500,000.

Clare and Gilbert Valleys Mayor Allan Aughey said some of the headstones would be extremely difficult to replace due to their age and design. "Sadly, many of the historical headstones are made of rare granites and marbles and have a lot of age about them and they've been completely shattered," he said.

Mr Aughey said the council was encouraging families of the deceased to come forward to speed up the process of having the graves repaired.

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