The Dunedin Astronomical Society was established on Monday the 27th of September 1910 by a meeting in "The Chemistry Room" of the University of Otago as the "Otago Astronomical Society". R. Gilkison was elected president with Rev. P. W. Fairclough and J. M. Garrow elected as vice-presidents. Thompson Lamb was Hon. Secretary and W. S. Wilson Hon. Treasurer.

In 1911 the Society affiliated with the Otago Institute to become the Astronomical Section of the institute. The following year a membership of 254 was reported in the transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand (of which the Otago Institute was the Otago branch).

For a short time around 1915 the society had a "Telescope House" on Tanna Hill in the grounds of the University of Otago. However the University required the land for a building project (a plaque was placed on the building during the 2010 centenary celebrations) and the society had to look elsewhere for a permanent home. A site near the Dunedin Botanic Gardens was selected, but construction was delayed by World War I. In 1920 the current site for the Beverly-Begg Observatory in Belleknowes was chosen instead and construction of the observatory was completed in 1922.

In 1948 the Telescope Makers' Club asked to make use of the Society's facilities and subsequently joined with the Society.

In the 1960s the society built an annex on to the observatory to provide a more convenient area for meetings, talks and telescope construction.

The Dunedin Astronomical Society became an incorporated society in 2000 and was registered as a charitable society by the New Zealand Charities Commission in 2009.

In 2002 the society gained access to a cottage near Middlemarch for use as a dark sky site.