Jones and his wife Bronwyn Binns created a portrayal of Ned Kelly and his associates when they produced the mini-series, The Last Outlaw, which was shown in 1980. He has also written several reference books about the Kelly gang including the bestseller Ned Kelly: A Short Life and The Fatal Friendship: Ned Kelly, Aaron Sherritt and Joe Byrne. In his work, Jones draws extensively on oral history interviews with descendants of the members of the Kelly Gang, in addition to decades of archival research. Jones also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1970 biopic film Ned Kelly which starred Mick Jagger.
In December 2006, Ian Jones was awarded the Longford Life Time Achievement Award by the Australian Film Institute in recognition of his enduring contribution to Australian screen culture.