THE Wonthaggi Monster has returned to the town in the form of more than 50 artworks.

Artist Filippa Buttitta spent five months preparing 55 artworks on the Wonthaggi Monster.

For example, there’s artworks of it near Big W, Wonthaggi Hotel, ArtSpace and the mine whistle.

Filippa has had many people come up to her during the exhibition telling stories of their sightings of the Wonthaggi Monster.

The monster first came to light in an article in a local newspaper, the Powlett Express – on December 1, 1955.

It said a “strange animal with a blood-curling yell” startled Fred Rollason and Mrs Sturgess.

Artist Filippa Buttitta has 55 artworks on the Wonthaggi Monster on display at ArtSpace Wonthaggi, many featuring the monster at well-known landscapes in Bass Coast. mm021018

“It was up a tree, big as a dog, large claws, large head, furry body, striped like a zebra, and a long tail,” Mrs Sturgess recalled to Powlett Express journalist Tom Gannon.

“When I heard the yell, I thought it was children looking for a lost calf.

“When it saw me, it sprang 15 ft. to the ground and disappeared. I’ve seen goannas, frill-necked lizards, wild cats and foxes, but it was none of them.”

The Wonthaggi Hotel features in the exhibition, with the Wonthaggi Monster on Murray Street. mm031018Tom noted a circus passing through the town didn’t report any missing animals. A local expert said it could’ve been a Greater Possum Glider.

The stories of the Wonthaggi Monster continued into the 1960s, when Tom likened it to a Tasmanian Tiger – also called a Thylacine.

Filippa started researching Wonthaggi when she came to the town in 2016.

“I love to learn the history of a town when I visit somewhere,” she said.

“I was riveted and intrigued by some of the newspaper articles about the Wonthaggi Monster.”

The artist has always had an interest in mysteries.

“It’s this interesting way that Aussies have always feared what’s lurking in the bush.

“Many people know of the monster and have stories to tell, or have even seen it.”

Some of the artworks are tongue-and-cheek, like the artwork of a UFO abducting a Tasmanian Tiger, while others portray the animal at popular landscapes in Bass Coast.

An oil on canvas shows the Thylacine on its way to the Wonthaggi Vet and another has the animal screaming near the wind farm.

She got the inspiration for one of her artworks from a photo on the Wonthaggi Buy/Swap/Sell Facebook page, when a member uploaded a photo of a dog barking at the beach.

“There’s some artworks of the Thylacine at Cape Paterson and Shelly Beach in Kilcunda.

“A lot of them are re-imagining the landscape and going on a journey, learning about the Thylacine.

The exhibition is on display at ArtSpace Wonthaggi until March 26.