It was established in 1836 as The Stirling Observer; it lost the The in 1980.
In 1866 a companion title, the Observer Miscellany, was set up, which soon evolved into the Saturday Observer. It was relaunched in 1873 as The Stirling Saturday Observer and Perthshire Herald; the word Saturday was dropped in 1917, although the publication day remained the same. In 1936 it was absorbed as the Counties edition of the main title. At the 1980 relaunch it became the Friday edition, with the main edition continuing as the Wednesday edition. The Wednesday edition is much the bigger seller, with about two-and-a-half times the circulation of the Friday edition.
At the end of 1971 the Observer absorbed two local newspapers founded in 1884. The Callander Advertiser and Trossachs, Strathyre, Killin, Dalmally, and Oban Observer was the slightly older of the two by two months; it changed title in 1893 to The Callander Advertiser and Visitors List and again in 1916 to The Callander Advertiser and Killin Times. The other title, The Bridge of Allan Gazette, kept the same title throughout its existence.
Until December 2011 the Observer was published by Hamilton-based Scottish & Universal Newspapers, the Scottish arm of newspaper publishing giants Trinity Mirror; Trinity MIrror then consolidated S&UN’s operations with those of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail to form a single entity in Scotland, Media Scotland.