Jimmy Bancks was born in Enmore NSW. He left school at aged 14 and practiced drawing while working in a range of unskilled jobs.
Bancks' first published art was in The Comic Australian (1913). He secured a job at The Bulletin where his illustrations appeared from 20 August 1914 until 1922, providing mainly caricatures and cartoons. He received art lessons from Dattilo Rubbo and Julian Ashton.
During this period, he also freelanced for Associated Newspapers Ltd's Sunday Sun, where he submitted the newspaper strip 'Us Fellers' in November 1921. Minor character Ginger Smith became larrikin Ginger Meggs in April 1922 and quickly took over the series. Enormously popular and influential in Australia, the strip was also picked up in Britain, America and Europe. It was collected annually in Australia from 1924 to 1959, initially as 'The "Sunbeams" Book'.
Bancks created 'The Blimps' for the Melbourne Sun (1923-1925) and provided art for Harry Mitchell's 'Mr. Melbourne Day By Day' (1925) in the Melbourne Sun-Pictorial.
In 1949 Bancks signed a ten-year contract with ANL, which it breached by not publishing 'Ginger Meggs' on the front of the Sunday Sun's comic supplement. Bancks won the court battle and moved to rival Sunday Telegraph (Australian Consolidated Press). He continued working on Ginger Meggs until his sudden death in 1952.