Welcome to CoffeeSnobs.
Yes it is a journey, and a great one at that :)
No dilemma really, you should get a good machine and make your own drinks for much less cost!
Within your budget I would recommend the Silvia & Rocky combo.
Also suggest get a decent tamper as the plastic ones supplied with the machines arent that good, and allow for some proper coffee machine cleaner, and a blind filter (which are relatively inexpensive). You will also need at least one steaming jug and a milk thermometer is good to help when learning to steam the milk. So there goes most of your budget, but you will be able to make some great coffee given fresh beans.
Yes it is important to have a good grinder, and generally it is preferable to have a separate grinder.
ALSO most important is fresh roasted beans, which is why many of us roast our own.
Your budget would also just stretch to a cheap popcorn popper or heat gun both of which will allow you to roast your own beans if, or when, you want to go that way.
Did I mention fresh beans? BTW you can get fresh grean beans through this site about once a month.
The ECM Botticelli looks like a great machine also, bit dearer, slightly bigger boiler, and a built in temp guage I believe, dont know about parts availability etc.
Silvia parts are relatively easy to get should you ever need any.
Recommend you contact the site sponsors they will help you out with good advice and service, and if you can drop in to one of their shops I am sure they will be happy to show you finer points on how to operate the units, etc.
Generally the Gaggias make good coffee, but have smaller aluminium boilers compared to Silvia & Botticelli, and the preferred ones are Carezza (if cost is critical) or the Classic which at least has a 3 way valve (if memory serves me correctly).
If you are steaming milk the bigger boiler (Silvia, Botticelli) can be an advantage.
Aluminium boilers can have trouble with corrosion, depends a lot on the water you put through them.
Three way valves are not essential, until you have used a machine with one, I would never buy a machine without one personally, having used a machine without one at work, the mess is unbelievable if you forget and pull the filter handle off too quick. (Carrezza doesnt have a three way valve, the others mentioned all do)
Superautos,... many have gone down that path and realised their mistake later.
(Some of course have been happy with the capability, but sounds like you wouldnt be)
They are convenient, and can make a decent drink if fed on fresh beans, but dont brew as well as a Silvia or Gaggia or ECM can. Generally they dont steam milk as well either.
They are also relatively complicated and can be prone to expensive repairs, friend of mine bought one (and it cost a lot more than $900) and his has been back for repairs three times under warranty, now hes also got a second hand Silvia which is going great, and brews much better than his superauto does.
Keep browsing around the site there is plenty of info here to help you :)
Sorry cant help with the barista training in Adelaide, but I think the question has been asked somewhere on this site recently, or again one of the site sponsors is can probably help with more info.
Hope this has been some help.