Born in Melbourne, Jackson lived with his family in the United Kingdom from 1946-1951 where his father was a manager for the Commercial Bank of Australia. On his return to Australia, Jackson completed his education at the Melbourne Grammar School and then attended Melbourne University where he gained a BA (Hons.) in Latin and English Literature, an MA (Hons.) in English and a Diploma in Education.
After a short period as a journalist, Jackson taught English, History and Latin in Bendigo and in several Melbourne schools. His writing is influenced by his Christian beliefs and his interest in Middle Eastern and Indian mysticism.