On Tuesday, January 5, 2021, Helga Carola Past passed away in the Royal Jubilee Hospital at the age of 84.

Helga was born in Vienna, Austria to Anthony and Gertrude Penn in 1936. Her first job was in the corps de ballet of the Vienna State Opera as a child and after moving to Victoria in 1952 with her family, she got a job at age 16 as a chambermaid at the Empress Hotel. She was the first one in her new immigrant family with a job because she was the only one who had studied English. She went on to work at the Royal Jubilee Hospital until she married Heiti Past in 1958. Chief among her various adventures and accomplishments, she was an antique dealer for over 40 years in her shop, Domus Antica Galleries on Fort Street, where she hosted regular casual salons by the marble fireplace. She travelled, she entertained lavishly, and she was devoted to her children, family, friends, dogs, garden, and so much more.

She was predeceased by husband, Heiti, her brother, Costa Penn, and her parents. She is survived by her son Steve, her daughter Angela (Mike), granddaughter Arielle (Josh), great-grandchildren Avery, Ryan, and Aria, niece Theone Mole (Alistair) and sister-in-law, Paddy Penn.

There will be no service due to COVID-19 restrictions, but a Celebration of Life will follow when we can all get together and have a big party worthy of Helga.

Helga loved flowers so please buy yourself a bouquet or a plant in her honour. Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Wendy Russell

    Helga will be remembered by me for the glorious times that we had in the 1980′ and the lovely wedding of Angela and Mike. The wedding

    was Helga’s crowning glory. Thank goodness for our memories to keep us comforted.

  • ronald forbes

    I am so shocked and sorry to hear of Helga’s passing, she was an incredible lady who was both a mentor and a friend and had the rare quality of making you feel important. I will miss our conversations, her advise, ethics and her passion for the Arts and Antiques. She was certainly one of the last great dealers of Fort Street from a time gone by, we will all miss her, my sincere thoughts go out to the family.

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