1. Check here: http://www.drumtek.com.au/drum-school.html
There's a few guys there who I've seen in various outfits over the years.....some of them big names on the local scene. I know they can all play. And knowing Frank Corniola's reputation, he wouldn't hire any slouches anyway. Northcote is not too far from Brunswick (5 to 10 mins drive).
2. Allans recently aquired Billy Hydes, they were the premier drum retailer in Melbourne. But now they are one in the same. If you move to Brunswick then you're also very close to their Flemington store. That one has been my "home store" since I was a kid. Drumtek is also a retail outlet and there is also Drummers Paradise in Richmond if you decide to move there: http://www.drummersparadise.com.au/
Outside of that, there are any number of smaller stores scattered around the city and suburbs too.
3. I'm out of that loop at present, but the number of live venues is certainly not what it once was.....all the old haunts over run by dreaded pokies. There's still places to play, but as an outsider looking in, the scene sure seems to be a lot smaller than what it was when I was in it.
Typically we used to start at 9 or 10 though, depending on venue, how many sets we were booked for, if there were other bands playing etc etc.