Born in Solihull, Warwickshire, England, Hall came to Australia as a child after World War II and studied at the University of Queensland (1971). In the 1960s Hall began working as a freelance writer, and a book and film reviewer. He also worked as an actor, and was often engaged by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Brisbane. Between 1967 and 1978 he was the Poetry Editor of The Australian. He began publishing poetry in the 1970s and has since published thirteen novels, including Just Relations and The Island in the Mind. He lived in Shanghai for a period in the late 1980s. From 1990-1993, he served as chair of the Australia Council.
Hall lives in Victoria. In addition to a number of literary awards, he has received an Membership of Order of Australia.
Rodney's memoir "Popeye Never Told You" was launched in May 2010 and was published by Pier 9.