Jeff Wilkinson was born in the UK, in Pontefract, Yorkshire. He attended Wakefields College in Leeds to study art, but dropped out at age 17 to join the Royal Navy. He emigrated to Australia at the end of World War II, where he began working for the Sydney-based comic book publisher Henry John Edwards. After creating 'Dusty Malone', a back-up feature for the Tim Valour Comic, and some humorous strips for Meteor Publications' Radio Comics and KG Murray's line of American reprint comics, Wilkinson began doing freelance illustration work through local advertising agencies.
He eventually offered his idea for a new comic book hero to Frew Publications. This resulted in 'The Phantom Ranger', a popular and long-running title that commenced publication in 1949. The success of the comic led to a radio serial in 1952, but by that time Wilkinson had already left the comic to produce a new title, 'The Shadow', that started in 1950. After about 20 issues, Wilkinson was succeeded by artist Peter Chapman. He continued to work for Frew, creating a boxing-themed comic called 'Kid Champion', as well as a comic book adaptation of the children's adventure book series 'Gimlet' of Biggles creator W.E. Johns. In addition, he began producing material for local comic book publishers like Pyramid Publications (a.o. for Michael Chance Comics and Australian installments for the 'Black X' strip).
Wilkinson's final involvement in the Australian comic market were contributions to the Silhouette Library series. In the 1960s, Wilkinson began working as a tiling contractor and as a designer of jewellery. In the 1980s, he returned to the UK where he returned to drawing comics, this time for publishers IPC and DC Thomson.