Jones was born in Broken Hill in 1941, the son of a miner. He left school at 14 years of age and worked in a variety of manual occupations until he entered Sydney University in 1974 with WEA support. Since graduating from that University, he worked for some years in the then Commonwealth Employment Service where his industrial experience was extremely useful. He spent the last years of his employment working as a history teacher in the public education system. He is currently retired and applies himself full time to writing poetry.