I hold an Indian passport but I reside in USA, I will be in India for a month, can I apply for Australian Tourist Visa in India and travel to Australia from USA ??
Once a visa is issued - you can travel from any country to the country that issued you the visa.
This is a general rule and the only restriction that I know of (which does not apply to your situation) is when emergency travel documents are issued; or in some cases - special visas are issued that define the mode of travel (for example, if your Saudi Arabian visa states that you are to travel by land, you cannot fly to certain airports).
In addition, as Gayot mentioned in his comment some countries allow you to check-in before you travel (its not just Australia - travelers to the US can check-in and clear immigration at Abu Dhabi for example) - airlines now have to provide advance passenger information (APIS) and this includes your passport details.
In summary - get your visa issued from India, travel back to the US and you can then travel to Australia. Good luck and enjoy your trip!