Vaughan was born in 1950, the second of three boys. He was raised on the north shore of Auckland, New Zealand, attended Takapuna Grammar School and graduated with a civil engineering degree from Auckland University.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Vaughan worked on large earth dam construction and water supply projects with Auckland Regional Authority and with Worley Consultants as Resident Engineer on hydroelectric construction. Vaughan spent two-and-a-half years in Papua New Guinea as Chief Engineer for the National Housing Commission, and in 1987 immigrated to Australia. He worked in Canberra then Darwin. In 1989 he was part of an aid group to Swaziland, developing a water resources computer model and related software. Today Vaughan runs the North Squash Centre in Mackay, Queensland, with his second wife, Bernadetha.
Vaughan draws on his experience in developing countries, a sense of humour and a long term interest in observing people to present his first novel HUMAN STOCK.