Born in 1923, Don Banks's studies in piano and musical theory commenced at the age of five. Jazz was Banks' earliest and strongest musical influence and his enthusiasm for it never waned.
Between 1941 and 1946 Banks served with the Australian Army Medical Corps. He studied piano, harmony and counterpoint privately during the last two years of his service and subsequently studied at the University Of Melbourne Conservatorium Of Music, majoring in piano and composition.
In 1952, Banks co-founded (with Margaret Sutherland) the Australian Musical Association in London, which became a vital platform for Australian composition.
Banks earned his living in London as a professional orchestrator and, from 1956, as a composer of commercial music, including music for feature films, documentaries, animated films, television, advertisements, record libraries and theatre.