As Hong Kong rattles and hums to the sound of a construction boom, a treasure trove of photographs from an earlier time of key infrastructural change will soon go on display. The pictures taken between 1972 and 1988 by Heather Coulson, a construction photographer and former resident, give a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into some of the major infrastructure projects that shaped Hong Kong and defined the city on the international stage. "It was a wonderful time to be in Hong Kong," said Coulson, who later returned to Britain. "There was so much of the original Hong Kong… I am staggered by the changes since then." Commissioned by building contractors, consultants and architects, Coulson had unparalled access to capture the construction of huge projects such as the MTR and Cross-Harbour Tunnel - which now form the bedrock of the city's transport system. The photographer is in town for the first time since 1997. She has donated her collection of hundreds of photos to the University of Hong Kong library, where they will soon be available for public viewing. "I was thinking if anything was to happen to me, I wanted these photos to go back to Hong Kong," Coulson said. "They are historic. They are a part of the city's history." Much of the donated portfolio focuses on the cavernous innards of the train system and the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, although there is a sizeable sprinkling of a bygone era. In one photograph, a group of children are huddling around a table as they assemble plastic GI Joe dolls for export to children on the other side of the world. "The photo collection is a good addition … that really adds diversity to our collection," Edith Chan, assistant special collections librarian at the university, said. "In fact, it is very encouraging to see an individual professional agree that a library is the right place to preserve their work." Chan said the library was developing a publicly available digital database that would host images of the city's life going back to the mid-19th century. The library hopes to upload at least 6,000 images to the database, which is expected to have a soft launch at the end of this year.